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Bridging Cultures Missionary Group - June 11th-21st

{Originally posted July 22nd, 2013}

FEDICE has had several meetings with the Executive Director of Bridging Cultures, Pastor Danny Couch of Weatherford, Texas. The goals of Bridging Cultures (BC) are very similar to FEDICE’s goals, so it makes sense to join forces. BC is a non-profit organization registered in United States dedicated to helping poor people in Ecuador better their lives. We finally planned how FEDICE could support BC. Under the auspices of Bridging Cultures, a mission group journeyed to Ecuador from June 11th to June 21st, 2013 led by Pastor Couch.

Previously, the FEDICE team had made several trips to the community of Pusir Grande to assist in planning activities and organizing logistics for the group's visit. Four activities were planned for the group: 1) Home Visits, 2) Activities with The Children, 3) Construction, and 4) Meetings with a Women's Group Concerning an Income-Producing Project.

1. Home Visits

The home visits were a very good activity for our missionary brothers and sisters as they gained insight into the reality of living one’s life in Pusir. Through courteous and pleasant dialogs, the visitors from the U.S. and the residents of Pusir questioned one another about Ecuador, about Pusir, and about life in the United States. The women of the community and various people of the visitor's group had the opportunity to interchange social and personal life, thus fortifying the atmosphere of cordiality and fellowship. It was a great way to get to know one another and to recognize that though we are persons with different realities, we are all the children of God. God covers us all with the same love.

Although we had a lot of success with this activity, the staff of FEDICE believe it could be planned better. In some instances, the residents of Pusir took advantage of our missionary brothers and sisters while sharing activities and work. It is possible to internalize customs, problems, and to get to know each other better without having the visitors do the work for the residents.

The visiting group was able to integrate into the daily activities of the women that they visited, sharing their form of work and survival.

2. Activities with The Children

The visitors from the U.S. worked with the children through playing games, painting the patio, and taking photographs. The photos were an especially fun activity for the children.

Another successful project was making jewelry using materials brought from the United States. This activity was attractive not only to the children, but also to the youth and adult women of Pusir. Bracelets and necklaces full of different colors and beautiful designs were created. In the future, with more materials, the people of Pusir hope to learn to create more things.

Before leaving, the local school organized a socio-cultural program, having a dance group and some musical groups perform for the visitors from the U.S. Some of FEDICE's staff, as well as some members of Bridging Cultures, also spoke during the program.

3. Construction

Although the community has a number of problems (lack of good drinking water, lack of coordination in construction activities, deterioration of the Health Center, convent and local church), only one of these projects could be tackled during this visit. It was decided that the convent would be the best project.

Due to the advanced deterioration of the walls of the convent, a builder was contracted who was put in charge of determining the quantities of materials needed and to finish off the floor and walls.

With the participation of the volunteers from the U.S., women of the community, FEDICE, and the builder, the following jobs were completed:

  • Sanding the walls

  • Stuccoing the walls

  • Painting the walls

  • Cleaning the building

In general, the construction activity was very productive and benefitted the community. It was an activity of collaboration between the community and the missionaries. It also showed the solidarity that exists among the people. The old convent will be used for future meetings of the community.

4. Meetings with a Women's Group Concerning an Income-Producing Project

Besides the aforementioned activities, FEDICE has been conversing with some of the women of the community with the goal of initiating an agricultural or animal husbandry project that will generate funds to be used for the creation of a savings cooperative in the community. The name of the group is: "Peace, Development, and Equality". The number of beneficiaries (or members) is 50.

The hope is to create a sustainable financial structure that can help meet the financial emergencies of the beneficiaries. Through teaching the active participants a "culture of savings", as well as helping them to generate more funds, not only will the community be more energized, but some of the local problems can be minimized. This project will contribute to better health, diet, housing, education and organization of the families of the community of Pusir.

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