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Inauguration of "Mis Pequeños Angelitos - Dr. Victor Vaca" Preschool

{Originally posted August 4th, 2013}

August 3rd, 2013, was an emotion-filled day. A preschool center that Victor Vaca lovingly supported, especially during the last few years of his life was dedicated in its brand new building. The new building was made possible in large part through the efforts of FEDICE and its many friends and contributors.

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. 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. Thus, "Mis Pequeños Angelitos - Dr. Victor Vaca".

The building has been under construction for more than two years. The first stone was laid by a mission trip from Plano, TX. Last summer, a group of high school students from Ft. Worth Country Day School greatly speeded the construction process along. However, when they left, the building still lacked considerable construction for completion. The women of "Constructing the Future", a local community organization that works with FEDICE, did what they could, recycling glass and plastics, selling clothes, etc., to pay a carpenter for continuing work. The $4,000 the organization was able to raise soon ran out and there was virtually no construction work done from about November, 2012 through May, 2013.

The last needed push came when Blanca Puma, FEDICE's Executive Director, was visiting friends and supporters in the United States during May. She mentioned to Roseanne Franke of the of the Illinois South Conference, United Church of Christ that San Francisco still needed $8,000 to complete the new preschool center. Roseanne replied, "Blanca, our conference can provide that money." The Conference made the money available the very next day and work was able to resume.

When Digna was speaking, she said that the new building cost a little more than $29,000. She also mentioned that if the government had built it, which they had no plans to do, it probably would have cost $55,000-$60,000.

There were FEDICE staff and volunteers, parents, friends, teachers, and, of course, the children served by the school to enjoy the festivities. Also on had were many members of Victor Vaca's family. They were there to help celebrate Victor's life and witness the honor given him by the beneficiaries of this preschool center.

The Master of Ceremonies was the president of the Parents Association of the preschool center. After some brief opening remarks, the real celebrities of the day, the children, processed in and sat quietly and confidently in their seats of honor. Five of them were graduating this year and moving on to escuela (elementary school) in September. These five would not get to enjoy the spacious new building, but some of them either gave a speech of thanks or recited a poem appropriate to the occasion. There followed a graduation ceremony.

The speeches on this day had a recurrent theme. The theme was that dreams can become reality. There was first a dream of Digna's that children of mothers who worked in broccoli plantations and other types of work could leave their small children in a nurturing, safe, healthy environment. That dream was realized when Digna Chaca opened the first floor of her home for a preschool center and teachers were hired. When the space for this preschool center started to become tight, the mothers and women of the association "Constructing the Future" began to dream of a larger, dedicated building for preschool center. That dream, in turn, came true due to the hard work of the organization and parents, FEDICE, and many friends and contributors to FEDICE.

Some special entertainment was provided by a children's dance group associated with Cotopaxi University of Technology in nearby Latacunga. This group has performed in Peru this year and is schedule to perform in Chile next year. Their costumes were colorful and flowing, and their dancing was outstanding.

Edmundo Vaca spoke for the Vaca family. He stressed how Victor, the oldest sibling, always looked out for his brothers and sister. He then took that caring into his life's work - helping poor people regain their dignity and begin the climb out of poverty. The family also brought four or five Hefty bags full of musical instruments and school supplies for the children. People in the United States donated monies to the school for things like tables and chairs, a projector, floor cushions, a small laptop, and even a TV.

Roseanne and Arnold Franke were also there and spoke on behalf of the Illinois South Conference, United Church of Christ and said that they were grateful to see so many dreams become reality. It was their Conference of United Church of Christ that was able to supply the last $8,000 to make this day of inauguration, dedication, and celebration a reality.

After a mass was said to bless the building, we all sat down at makeshift tables to eat. The meal was great, consisting of soup, fava beans, potatoes, salad, pork chops, sausage, and chicken. We left either stuffed or with go-bags, and we all had warm feelings in our hearts. Those warm feelings were not from indigestion. They were from the knowledge that something special happened that day. Dreams turned into reality. "Mis Pequeños Angelitos - Dr. Victor Vaca" would open it's doors in September.

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