YEAR-END LETTER 2016
So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
I Corinthians 3:7
The FEDICE family continues to grow!
2016 has been a year full of a variety of activities, with visits from groups from the USA, as well as individuals who have come to help or observe what we do.
We are proud to announce the birth of three new projects this year. Two of the projects were sponsored by the First Christian Church of Plano, Texas, and the third was sponsored by Global Ministries and Week of Compassion, as well as several churches and many individuals who were deeply moved after hearing about the Earthquake on the coast of Ecuador on April 16, 2016.
The first of our new projects is an expansion of our current project in Pijal, where we already have a group of women who have started a savings and credit union. The new project is called “Sumac Wasy,” which means “Pretty House” in Kichua. The purpose of this project is to help residents of Pijal who are living in half-finished homes improve their living conditions by means of a loan that they can use to construct bathrooms, put in flooring, plaster bare walls, and much more. This loan is then repaid within the year to the savings and credit union, thus making the money available for other families in the community to make necessary improvements on their own homes.
The second project came about because so many of our friends
were concerned about the effects of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake
on the coast of Ecuador. During the earthquake, entire towns were
destroyed and because most of the work on the coast revolves
around tourism, many people were left without work as no one
wanted to visit the coast for many months afterwards. At first,
we had no contacts but with a little research, we found a pastor
and his wife in the town of Sua, located just a half hour from the
epicenter of the earthquake. They described the effects of a
devastating flood in January 2016 that destroyed the first floors
and furniture in many homes and businesses and how they were
scarcely beginning to recover when the earthquake hit, bringing even
more tragedy to an already devastated community. So we began
our project in Sua with 30 families, by starting a savings and credit
union. We gave each family seed money to create new businesses
or rebuild their old businesses, which they will pay back to their
savings and credit union within the year, and thus, be able to
continue loaning money to each other in the future. As with most
of our new communities, FEDICE is accompanying them in this
venture for the first year, until they are comfortable with the process. It takes us 6 hours to drive each way to Sua, but we enjoy the change in scenery and especially the tropical climate of the coast!
LA PRADERA (pictured at top of page)
The third project is la Pradera located to the south of Quito in the province of Cotopaxi. This is a completely new group of 17 families who heard of FEDICE by word of mouth from our group in the community Luz de América. We recently gave them their first loan for their agricultural projects of raising chickens, pigs, and beef cattle and are looking forward to the continuation and maturation of this project.
Carlina Casierra with her chicken project in Sua
OLGA YAN PARDO
"The hospitality of the people is so sincere and human that it leaves me with a good taste in my mouth, and it makes me happy to know that the love of our Lord Jesus keeps on manifesting itself in many people. This motivates me a lot to continue in this beautiful path of service, because in the process of giving, one receives such lovely things, which are impossible to transmit into words."
The experience of being in Ecuador has been so wonderful, a magnificent opportunity to put love and knowledge in action. This country has everything, the mixture of cultures is admirable, each ethnic group maintains its customs and traditions and has so much that one can learn from. The variety of climate in the different regions and their fruits, also makes for a unique experience.
With relation to the work I have been doing, the interaction with the Fonte family in the community of Pijal was very gratifying. Every encounter with them also gave me a chance to relate with other children and adolescents and to see the fruit of working with the themes every week. It is a family to be admired and to continue supporting, because even with their economic deficiencies, they make their maximum effort and are good students. The Cuascota family in Gonzalez Suarez was more of a challenge, but we were able to accompany them in orientation for a healthy life for the children, and the responsibility of the adults.
The conversations about sexual education, children´s rights, gender equality, etc, in each children´s center, communities and churches, were very useful as they permitted me the promotion of those with a focus on rights, justice, equality and protection, giving the knowledge and empowering each mother and father of the family, helping in this way to have happier and healthier families.
Each child has made an impression on my life in a very enjoyable way. Through their witticisms, reactions, and questions about me because I am black, I can tell that my presence has made a great difference for them, since there are communities, especially the indigenous ones, where not one person of my color skin lives. This has been very significant for me, because just my presence has permitted them to discover in a direct way that the human family is multi-racial.
The hospitality of the people is so sincere and human that it leaves me with a good taste in my mouth, and it makes me happy to know that the love of our Lord Jesus keeps on manifesting itself in many people. This motivates me a lot to continue in this beautiful path of service, because in the process of giving, one receives such lovely things, which are impossible to transmit in words. Thanks to God for this marvelous experience of life which has transformed me in such an integral way.
Cara Elizabeth McKinney
"I am here in Ecuador to learn from people who are different than me—to learn their experiences, their history, to learn a different way of life, and, in turn, to share my experiences and my history. This seems like the best possible way to love another person."
FEDICE is proud to welcome a new volunteer from Global Ministries. Cara McKinney is from Ohio, USA. We are looking forward to having her work with FEDICE and we are sure will be a valuable contribution to our activities.
One of the first activities given to Elizabeth (as we have lovingly decided to call her here in FEDICE) is to answer these questions: Why did she decide to do volunteer work, and why with FEDICE? Following are her answers:
“It is my understanding that the root of everything that makes us Christians lies in the concept of love—love for our neighbors, love for family, for people and the environment, love for ourselves, love for our God and for the sacrifices God made for us. This idea of “doing unto others” forms the foundation of that love in every human being; I love myself, so why would I not want to love my neighbor?
I am here in Ecuador to learn from people who are different than me—to learn their experiences, their history, to learn a different way of life, and, in turn, to share my experiences and my history. This seems like the best possible way to love another person. I am here to grow to know and love my far-away neighbor just as well as my next-door neighbor and to lean into and celebrate our differences. I believe that this is what God calls us to do in the world.”
Since Elizabeth has been in Ecuador she has visited a number of the communities where FEDICE works, including El Chaupi, Pijal, Pusir, Gonzalez Suarez, and Sua. In each community she has begun to get to know the families and individuals with which we work, as well as getting to know the specific work that FEDICE does in each community.
MARILYN COOPER and the Value of English
“As a volunteer for FEDICE, I am making a difference in indigenous communities. The leaders of the future, the children, are getting an enhanced curriculum because FEDICE has the foresight to provide this service of teaching English in these communities. It is a gift for the next generation."
I have taught pre-school English classes for 6 years here in the greater Otavalo, Ecuador, area. My background as a physical education and adapted physical education teacher hardly prepared me for classroom work with young children. Given my limited ability with the Spanish language, what was FEDICE to do with me? Flexibility might not be my greatest asset, but I have been determined to be a beneficial volunteer for FEDICE.
It was rough going, probably more for my students than myself, in the beginning. Teachers were so interested in getting English into the brains of their charges that my classes often included over 20 students less than 5 years of age. Given my “disability” of remembering names, the children’s distrust of this gringa who looked and spoke strangely, and the fun of pestering one’s neighbor, it was a wonder that the youngsters learned. But they did. One mother told me that when her daughter started English classes in the escuela, she already knew the names for animals and colores and fruits in English. OK, so I can at least claim one student learned.
Now, I feel that my plans hold the children’s attention. They learn the new words, and with time, they understand the concept of different languages. Yes, I still have Alex who for the first 6 weeks of classes this fall, said “Spanish”, whenever I asked how to say something in English. But he’s finally repeating the English words and has quit asking me to teach Spanish instead of English.
The number of pre-schools where I work has grown to eight. This fall, I have worked with an average of 103 students twice weekly. (No, not all in one class!). The teachers keep asking me back so I know I am making a difference.
A mother told me her daughter sings songs in English at home.
At one of my pre-schools where I have a class of 10 students, the 10 member class slightly younger sits in the doorway with their teacher so they can see the English videos and learn the words, too.
At another, pre-verbal students are sent to my class to absorb the English with the older students.
Recently, the director of a school in a different district (who had worked at one of the pre-schools where I currently have classes) called me and begged me to teach at her school. The parents and teachers wanted their children to learn English. Fortunately, I was able to add this eighth school to my 4 day work week.
As a volunteer for FEDICE, I am making a difference in indigenous communities. The leaders of the future, the children, are getting an enhanced curriculum because FEDICE has the foresight to provide this service of teaching English in these communities. It is a gift for the next generation.