Greetings from rainy Ecuador! In the first month of 2017 we met our annual rainfall and it keeps raining. I have a guest author for this post. My mom shares about my folks visit.
For several months we, Erin’s parents, had planned and prepared to visit our daughter Erin in Ecuador. With her we agreed that the time should include the first week of October, when she would be on break from the school where she teaches English. As our leaving date of September 30th neared, Erin found herself back in Los Angeles working on getting her two-year visa. In spite of having been told she could return to Ecuador and finish it up there, that turned out not to be the case.
We did go ahead and go, staying with missionary fiends, Bill and Karleen Crandall, in Guayaquil for four days until Wednesday night when we went to help pick up Erin at the airport.
While we were waiting on her, we got to accompany her co-workers, Samuel and Paola, to one of the churches they work with, El Recreo. It was exciting to actually see work that I, Cindy, have heard about for several years first from our daughter Sarah (who has been going on yearly mission trips here for some time), and then from Ralph (he went on one of the yearly mission trips one year as the male sponsor) and then from Erin (from her mission trip with the Downey church in August 2014) and as Erin spent last year in Ecuador. Besides the normal things a church does, the El Recreo church has an outreach twice a week to feed lunch to and then help the neighborhood kids with homework, health checks, school supplies and such. And another joyous thing for which we got to be present was the baptism of one of the young wives of the church.
Once Erin arrived, we went to the home of Samuel and Paola, who also live in Guayaquil—not the capital, but the largest city with around 2,250,000 population. It was such a fun thing to get to be with Erin and see and experience the things she does from day to day. She’s part of a mission team that includes Samuel (who leads the team) and his wife Paola, who are from Chile, Jeremy, who is from Orange County in southern California (He’s the artsy, creative, computer guy.) and then Erin, who lives in Samborondon, about 25 minutes outside of Guayaquil. This is where she teaches English at the Christian school there and works with the church that for now meets at the school property. (Note from Erin—the church is soon moving to their own building)
Erin does not have a car, so she takes buses, catches rides with friends, takes taxis or in Samborondon, where she lives and works, walks or takes the mototaxis that are all over the city. For 25 cents they will take you anywhere in this city of 20,000 people. Actual addresses are not normally used in Samborondon—Erin does not know her street address where she lives with Pastor José (also the school administrator) and his wife Lupe (the school principal) and their son and a niece. She gets into the mototaxi and says, “The house behind the artificial turf soccer field.” She did tell us that sometimes it is a little creepy when she gets in and they ask, “Are you headed home?” and proceed to take her there without any further instructions. As a North American she does tend to stand out.
When you visit a new place food is always a large part of your experience. Rice is a major product of this area of Ecuador and thus a major part of the diet. Plantains (large cooking bananas) are also abundant and used in a variety of ways. Lunch and dinner meals would normally include a portion of rice and the slices of fried green plantains. One morning we also went to a restaurant where Ralph had a dish of something that looked like oatmeal, but the main ingredient was plantain. When we went to the Parque Historico we got to try the cooked, sweet plantain with goat cheese on top, a “bolo” with fish and other ingredients wrapped in a banana leaf, “patacones” (fried green plantain rounds) and some different fruit juices. Probably one of our favorite things was to have yogurt (plain yogurt with fresh fruit that you selected, blended into it) and “pan de yuca” (bread made with yucca flour).