Thursday, November 24, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Lots of sleep in the Hilton!
Last night without children.

We went out to La Mitad del Mundo--the middle of the earth, which is where the equator runs through Ecuador. It was lots of fun. They do several different experiments along the equator--walking the line, balancing the egg, and swirling water.

More later. We will be leaving in a few hours for home. Had a wonderful time, met wonderful people. I will always remember this trip and I hope to come back here with the kids some time.

So excited to kiss the kids--especially nibble on Georgia's ears, so delicious.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Portoviejo Day 5

Our last day in Portoviejo we went to a free maternity hospital to drop off some newborn kits donated by the Church. It was old and very run down. Interesting to see the huge difference between this free clinic run by the government and the foundation that was run by an individual that really cared about her cause.

We visited the cathedral in downtown Portoviejo and I climbed to the top.

We closed the week with a ceremony where the Church officially donated the wheelchairs, a microscope, and recognized the training that had been done by David. There were 3 televisions stations and 2 newspapers there. It was fun to see David in the center of the long table being interviewed by the press. He did a great job answering questions. Papa Dean would have been really proud!

Then we flew back to Quito for an wonderful night it the super soft white beds of the Hilton.
Absolutely love the Hilton!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Portoviejo Day 4

So you may be wondering why day 4 is 2 days late.
It is because at the end of day 4 David was in the hospital with food poisoning.
I suppose no visit to South America is complete without it.

The day started out great. Yolanda wanted David to get a chance to see some of the province.
So instead of going to the clinic he toured around a little bit with us.
First we went to visit a man named Pastor who became blind 9 years ago. He was only 30 years old. Prior to his blindness he didn't have much of a job. Once he became blind the foundation worked with him teaching him basic business skill, gave him a small loan to start a business, and continue to support him along with his family and friends. He had a successful business in his home along with a small futbol field along side his home which draws people there and then after their game they buy from his store. He had a very nice home, a wife who adored him, and a mother who adored him even more. It was awesome to see someone being so successful in his circumstance. The volunteers told me that the key to a blind person being successful in their program is the support of a spouse. It was so neat to see how much Pastor's wife loved and adored him.

Drove a long the coast. Saw a mule. Stopped and had a ride.

Next we visited a camaroneras--a shrimp farm. It was owned by Magdalena, one of Yolanda's friends. After we got a lesson on how a shrimp farm works and ate some fresh ceviche de camarones.

Continued along the coast and visited probably the poorest school we have seen so far--dirt floors, open classrooms with only 3 walls. There we went to visit a 10 year old girl named Evelyn who is blind. We got to see how she writes and reads braile. She didn't have a braile machine so did it all using a special metal tool. It was amazing to see how quickly she could write. I was impressed with what level of math they were doing.

Then we went to visit a private school funded by a man that is a good friend of Yolanda's. It is a montesorrie type school. It was beautiful. They had built one of their cabana out of old soda bottles. We visited the 4 year old class. They sang for us and did some recitations with hand motions and enthusiasm--super cute.

Last we visited the beach and went to eat more camorones at a little restaurant on the beach.
Then we had a long, hot ride home. I went back to the hotel to rest. David went back to the clinic to do some lasering. Then I got the call from Yolanda that David was sick and she had just dropped him at the hospital. She came to pick me up. Lots of puke, lots of diarrhea, lots of visitors (a latino thing), Yolanda even left one of her nurses to stay with us for the night. By the next morning he was better but it was a rough 12 hours. The good thing was that as fast as it came it left.

We thought it was all the camarones that he had eaten but then we came to find out that all the people we had eaten dinner with the night before were also sick. Yolanda, her son, and I were the only people out about 12 of us who did not get sick. Like I said the trip would not have been complete without a little or a lot of diarrhea.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Portoviejo Day 3

We started today at the foundation watching David teach the other ophthalmologist. I am so impressed with how well he can speak medical Spanish. I really did not know he could speak Spanish so well. I guess he learned some things during his 2 years in Miami.

Today we did tourist things. We visited the city of Monticristi where there is a museum dedicated to the revolutionario Eloy Alfaro Delgado. We learned a lot of history, visited his tomb, and met with the head of the museum. I bought souvenirs for the kids--bracelets, tiny baskets, wood animals. Monticristi is where Panama hats are made so I bought one. The city of Monticristi is about to have a festival so merchants are coming from all over and setting up tents in the streets. It was like a big fair but down the streets of this very old town.

Ate the most delicious fish.

Delivered wheelchairs to the foundation.

Tonight we had a wonderful dinner at Yolandas house. She has a beautiful home with mango and banana trees right in the middle of town. I met her son, his wife, their daughter, and her pet chicken, Angie who sleeps inside the house. There was a pianist, a waiter, and a cook all at her house. We sat outside for an houring talking, then moved inside for another hour talking, waiting for David to finish the laser. About nine oclock we started dinner. During the prayer there was an earthquake for about a minute, kind of scary. Ate a 3 course meal--delicious!

Another nice day. Yolanda is an amazing woman. I will write more about her work later but right now I am so tired and we are meeting at 7:30 to tour more of the province.

Buenas noches.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Portoviejo Day 2

Another great day. We spent most of the day touring the province so we can see how the foundation is helping different people throughout the community. They have programs in schools as well as programs to help adults who are blind learn to live with their disability.

First we visited Fernanda in her school. She is a 17 year old girl who is blind and deaf in one ear. We saw her use her braile machine which was amazing to see how quickly she could type and then read back what she had written. During our visit to the school their was a futbol game going on in the middle of the school. All the schools are set up the same, kind of like a plaza with the classrooms surrounding the center play yard. There was a little boy with a microphone who was the commentator for all the games and he was amazing. He commented on every move, named every player, really brought the game to life. He was so quick and witty, if ESPN could hear him they would hire him on the spot. It is something I will always remember.

Next we drove up the road a ways to visit a man named Sandy who is completely blind. He has a bicycle repair shop. It was so interesing to see his home and work space and how well he is doing. He built a bike for 4 people, 2 bikes side by side added a seat on each, then connected with a wooden board that could hold a few more people. Their main form of transportation is bikes and donkeys. Bikes are way faster so that seems to be a little more popular.

We stopped in the little pueblo of Chirijos. We saw their church, plaza, and met some of the people who live in the houses that surround the plaza. One family invited us in, we rested on their hammock, ate some mango, and bought some papaya which is their business.

Next we visited a man whose name I can not remember but who had the most beautiful green eyed daughter named Antonella. He is blind in one eye and has bad vision in the other but runs a very successful limon farm. He has a yard full of limon trees. He also has a little store in the front of his house. He has done so well with his business that he was able to buy a washing machine for his wife which is a very big deal in this area. Most people do their wash by hand. Before we left he cut some cocos from a tree and opened them with a machete. Miriam, from the foundation, was very nervous as the mostly blind man chopped the tops off the cocos so we could drink coco water.

Last we visited little Jesus who was born without eyes. He was such a sweet boy and so excited to have visitors. His mothers name was Jenny and she had 3 other children about the same age as our family. She was a very happy mom and there was such a sweet feeling in their home.

After all of our visits we went to eat at La Granda which was a restaurant in someones backyard. They were a very well to do family for the area. They had hammocks hanging, Christmas decorations up, and delicious food. For lunch we had baked platanos con salprieta, which is crushed peanuts and corn meal. There is a saying here that once you have eaten salprieta you will have to return. I guess we will see. We also had a delicious bean soup and then a plate of rice, chicken, and vegetables. When we finished our meal we went to visit their animals outback. They have 2 mama pigs that are due any day. I told them to call us if the little piggies are born this week because I would love to see them. They were the biggest pigs I have ever seen.

Later, after we had a siesta in our hotel, we went to Magdalenas house where I taught Sister Yost, Magdalena, and Yolanda yoga. We laughed and had a great time.

I am really loving my time. here. It is amazing to see these people who according to our standards have so little but are truly happy. They love sitting around with their families, eating together, having visitors. They really seem to live in the present. They seem to go about their day taking care of the things that need to be done, wash some clothes, fix a meal, sell a few papayas. They always have time for others. As we have visited it is apparent that they have all that they need and live beautiful simple lives and they are happy. It is wonderful to feel of their happiness.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Portoviejo, Ecuador Day 1

So I think I will try and write each day what we did then add all my pictures once I get home. I am sitting in our hotel lobby using their computer. In front of me is an armed guard. He is protecting the hotel. I do not feel in danger (sorry can not find the apostrophe on this spanish keyboard and i think it might be from 1999 because the buttons are really hard to push) anyways I was saying I do not feel in danger but evidently someone thinks its a good idea for him to have a gun and walk around the front of the hotel so that is fine with me.

Today was amazing. We started it at the foundation which provides eye care for the people of the province of Manabi. David stayed there to see patients and train 3 ophthamologists on using the laser while I visited 2 schools, 1 home, and a water reserve.

I loved visiting the schools. They are all behind locked walls--again a safety thing. The children were so cute and excited see americanos. The classrooms were very simple--desks, chalkboard, and the teacher. Some of the classes have up to 40 students per class. I asked about disciplining so many children and she said that was not a problem. The children behave and if they get out of line the teacher speaks very sternly to them and that is enough.

We visited a little girl named Samantha in her home. She is blind and can no longer attend school so the foundation helped her mother open a small store in their home so she could care for her and have a way to make some money to support her daughter. They lived in very humble home with the store on the bottom and their home above. The laundry hung along lines in the front of the house. Before we left they gave us a bag of her homemade candies.

After a nice lunch of encebollada (onion soup with fish and shrimp) we drove through the countryside to the water reserve. I loved seeing all the different homes. They were small and simple, many made of bamboo. Most of them did not have windows. There were tables and chairs outside with people eating and playing cards, clothes hanging on lines from the trees, chickens in little pens. ( I was told today the chicken that you eat here is tougher because they are muscular, they run around--have normal chicken lives unlike american chickens that are pumped full of hormones and get to fat to walk). It really was amazing to see such a different way of life.

We drove back to the foundation where David was still working. I got to see him using the laser which was fun for me because I never see him at work. It made me appreciate his work and when he tells me he has had a hard day I can understand a little better what that means.

Awesome day, looking forward to another.

Adios for now!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Just got back from Ryan's wedding in Jamaica.
Everyone had a great time.
Haley was a beautiful brids-her dress was amazing!
I will post pictures when I get them from Alyssa--the other Stier sister.

My mom arrived yesterday
David and I are leaving this Saturday for Ecuador.
David is doing a humanitarian trip for our Church.
He is going to teach some ophthalmologist how to use a laser that the Church is donating.
I will post pictures and more details when we return.
Right now I have lots to do to get ready.
Everyone can think of my mom next week as she stays here with all the children.
Ohhh she is the best grandma ever!