Today we had our monthly meeting of the FEDICE team. The full complement of FEDICE staff members and volunteers attended. It was a good thing, too, because today begins a 13-day-stretch of rather intense but rewarding activity, with FEDICE hosting and/or assisting three groups from the U.S. and overseeing three major projects.
Actually, one group (a small one) is already here. Roseanne and Arnold Franke are from Illinois and have been faithful and generous supporters of FEDICE for years. Most of their work has been with preschool centers south of Quito. Tomorrow they will travel with Luis north of Quito to a town called Pijal. Next week at this site a mission group from First Christian Church in Plano, TX, will be helping to complete a new preschool center. While in the area, they will have lunch with Marilyn and Glenn and the family with whom Marilyn and Glenn live. Roseanne and Arnold may also have time to take in Peguche Waterfall or the famous Otavalo market of indigenous crafts and textiles.
Also, tomorrow night a mission group of seven people from Bridging Cultures will arrive at the Quito airport. After using Saturday to decompress from their journey, Hugo and Luis will travel with them to the Otavalo area on Sunday. They will see a few sights in the area before continuing to their project in Pusir Grande, 60-70 km north of Ibarra.
Most of the FEDICE staff and volunteers, as well as Roseanne and Arnold, will be in San Francisco (south of Quito) on Saturday for the inauguration of "Mis Pequeños Angelitos - Victor Vaca" preschool center. There has been a preschool center called "Mis Pequeños Angelitos" in the home of Digna Chacha for years. Digna is a community leader and currently serves as vice-president of the FEDICE board. With the help of many friends from the United States and Ecuador, as well as hard work by the community, a stand-alone building has been built to accommodate this preschool center. When Victor Vaca died in February, the community decided to honor his constant support by incorporating his name into the name of this preschool center.
One more! Late Monday night the large mission group from Plano will arrive. They will be driven by bus immediately to Otavalo. Tuesday morning will be a time of relaxation and orientation. The whip cracks after lunch on Tuesday through Friday afternoon. This group has decided to split up and tackle four functions. One subgroup will work to complete the preschool center in time for a dedication on Friday. Another will conduct medical clinics. A third will provide optometry services. A VBS will also be conducted for the children on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. This group has energy! The various subgroups will be accompanied by Blanca, Lisa, Isabelle, Marilyn, and Glenn acting as helpers and translators. Also, Perla, Lisa's granddaughter visiting from Mexico, and Tabitha, Lisa's daughter visiting from Chile, will be helping us out with these tasks.
FEDICE always does a good job of making sure that mission groups have a chance to experience things in Ecuador besides working, and this will be no different. On Saturday and Sunday, Marilyn will lead people to different attractions in Imbabura Province. On Monday, Blanca will lead them to various tourist attractions in Quito before they have to catch their late night flight back to the U.S.