The first time I visited the Infant Center of Pijal, I saw many things that needed improvement. They showed me three tiny colorfully painted rooms where they gave the classes to 25 children.
One of the rooms also served as the dining room for lunch, so they had to stack the tables and chairs on one side of the room during the rest of the time.
There was a little kitchen to prepare the food, and in front was another room which served as a sleeping room for the babies. Upon entering the nursery, I was overwhelmed with the musty smell of the moldy walls, and it wasn´t even the rainy season, so I couldn´t imagine what it must be like during the rains.
The bathrooms were completely separated from the building, and were broken down, tiny, and as clean as the workers could make them under the circumstances.
Outside was a playground with tires placed in the ground for the children to jump on, and the most peculiar slide I had ever seen in my life….a board placed on a ladder (I wondered how many splinters had to be taken out of the little fannies).
Encarnación, one of the workers there, pleaded with us to help them. The community had already gathered together rocks and sand to build the foundation, and they had 6.000 dollars given to them from the municipal funds, with which to start the work. FEDICE began having monthly meetings with them and with the municipality to make plans about how we could help.
When the group from Plano came last year, the walls and roof were up for the new building….five large rooms with lots of windows to let in the light. The people from Plano helped to paint the walls as well as to clean up the area around the new center.
The skeleton was up, but there were many details to be finished. That is where The Eden United Church of Christ from the Illinois South Conference has been able to help, with the funds to put down the floor, to put in the windows and doors, and finish the new center.
The last time I visited Pijal, the windows and doors were in, the walls had been colorfully decorated with bright new paintings, the tile floor in two rooms was done, and half of the big room was finished.
The new tables and chairs have been bought in Quito, and taken out to the center. There are new cribs and other accessories ready to be put in the rooms as soon as the flooring is done. What a difference for these children! God is good, to move the hearts of so many people to make a difference in these children´s lives.