November 17, 2012
It’s been two months since I've written, mostly because I spent almost the whole month of October on retreat.
First, some tidbits: Things have settled down for the new school year here… Since we don’t have Halloween or Thanksgiving in Ecuador, the large stores downtown started putting up Christmas decorations in September….We have a new missionary, Valeria, up in Rancho Alto, to work with our fabulous Alexandra, who will be with us till January…. The soup kitchen is filled with hungry kids every weekday….The clinic is going fine, although there is some competition from a government- sponsored clinic nearby. We have a physical therapist and a laboratory specialist three days a week, in addition to our regular team.
Fr David Costello, head of the St. James Society, visited us for a few days … our president, Rafael Correa, is running for a third term. The way things are arranged, he can’t miss…. I have started new Young Christian Students groups in the two public schools nearby … by satellite there is a way I can get a play-by-play account of the Notre Dame games. I can’t get a picture or a vocal, but it is something like the tickertape that announcers like Bob Elson got for the Sox away-from-home games when I was a boy. I went through trauma during the Pittsburg game.
The government is stepping into all the daycare centers next year. In our daycare center Miguelito we will only be serving one, two, and three year old children. They are putting the older ones in schools, but there aren't enough teachers for them. Since we have a long waiting list, we will keep the same number of kids and teachers… our e-mail system was down for about a week, Nov. 8 – Nov 14, so if you sent me something at that time, I didn't get it.
Now, because so many people have helped in the project to get water purifiers into the upper barrio Mirador, I’d like to talk about that. One of the purifiers was put into a school classroom, the other in the barrio center building. When Carlos Maldonaldo and I drove up to the school we were dismayed: first that the enrollment, which was 70 last year, is down to 40. There is only one real teacher, Raul Gonzalez, and two student teachers. Each has more than one level. Parents have put the other 30 kids in another school higher up the mountain, in a barrio Rumdupamba. ( I don’t see how the kids are learning anything.) Second, they aren’t using the water purifier at all, because it requires electricity, and twice someone has stolen the outside cable connecting the purifier it to the power line outside. Carlos is working on getting a different kind of cable, one that can’t be stolen. If that doesn't work out, we have the option of putting the purifier in the school in Rumdupamba.
The second purifier was put into the barrio center building, at the behest of the people. But no one averted to the fact that it requires electricity, and there is no outlet in that building. So it went from one house to another, till it is now , unused, in the house of the new barrio president, Carlos Agosta. I drove up there this morning, and we arranged to have it moved to outside the house of Sebastian Ortiz, who owns the barrio’s bakery. We will have to work on details such as prevention of theft, cost of electricity, etc., but I think it will be well used now. The barrio has 180 families, of whom 60 have no other way of getting potable water.
Final news: After 36 weekend mission appeals over ten years, I’ve pretty well drained the diocese, and it is time to begin another way of helping to finance my projects here. As some of you know by e-mail, the Quito Barrio Outreach Foundation is sponsoring a dance on Feb. 16. Thanks to Mike Fekety and to all those who are preparing this event. Since my knowledge of modern means of communication is equal to my knowledge of the stock market, - almost nothing – I’m not sure of how much information you already have. All the info is on the internet www.QuitoBarrioOutreach.org
Thanks for your constant love and support,