Well, just when you think this trip couldn´t get much better...it did.
We visited two daycare centres today for ages 3-5 not too far outside of Ambato. There are 8 centres in this area providing daycare for 234 children. World Vision staff make sure that the children receive education, food, medical care, and just a lot of fun with other kids. Once I have a few photos up you´ll immediately know that this is not a daycare like we are used to seeing in Canada, but it is nonetheless an effective and welcomed part of the community.
Our hosts noted the importance of socialization for these kids who are often very shy before joining. There was a noticeable difference between the kids in daycare and those who were not. Those in the daycare were far more outgoing and trusting while other kids we´ve met on this trip tended to be a little hesitant about approaching us.
After a few introductions, the kids gave each one of us little crafts they had made and a hug. I don´t care who you are or how tough you may be, but when a little girl in a community like this wraps her tiny arms around your neck and gives you a hug, you never want to let go.
Once all of the gifts were handed out it was time to dance! The music was turned on and we all danced, and danced, and danced until all of us low-altitude living gringos were ready to drop but it was worth every breath. So much fun! To see the kids laughing and us laughing and the staff laughing was a special memory that I´ll never forget. Despite trying to take as many photos as possible, there are times when I just have to put my camera down and live in the moment - this was one of those moments. Thankfully some of our team took some photos and video that I will always treasure.
When all of the dancing was done it was time for us to break out the bubbles that we brought with us. I have never, ever seen kids so excited! As the clear soap bubbbles hovered in the air and popped on their little fingers, they laughed their heads off and chased around anyone who had a bottle. All except one special little girl named Angelica who was sitting on my lap. I´m not sure if she was afraid of the bubbles, or if she was just trying to be a good girl (her mom is one of the leaders here), or if she was just happy to be held, but she just wouldn´t budge, and truthfully, I didn´t want her to. She was so quiet and sweet so we just sat there and watched everyone else having fun, both of us taking in the moment. As she grows older I´m sure she´ll forget this day, but I never will. It was the day I fell in love with Ecuador and her people.
For complete photos from the journey click here.
To sponsor a child in Ecuador visit WorldVision.ca