Fun with University Students

This morning I was invited to be a “guest teacher” at the University of Manabì in Portoviejo by a friend of mine, Maria Jose.  The class wanted me to go over common sayings and expressions or idioms that we use in North America but the translation isn’t always literal and aren’t typically found in traditional English textbooks.  I found it interesting even explaining some of the idioms due to differences in culture, they may not use phrases or words similar even in Spanish.  For example the word “creep” in particular was difficult.  One definition is to crawl but I was trying to explain to them how someone may refer (in a derogatory manner) to someone who was bothering them, stalking them or staring at them in an uncomfortable way.   Another fun word that I was having trouble explaining was “sweet”.  Of course there’s the meaning of “dulce” in Spanish meaning a candy or other sweet food.  There’s also the “preciosa” word meaning that the object they are referring to is very delightful.  But then there’s just the word “sweet” meaning something similar to cool!  Other terms I explained were phrases like:  “What’s up?, I’m kidding, Pig out, Hang out, For Real, Feeling Blue, Couch potato” and a few others.  It was overall, a fun activity and the college students are eager to learn and seemed excited to have a native English speaker to work with them!

Maria Jose and I

In addition, they helped me too!  They taught me a few phrases that we wouldn’t normally know and really can’t be translated literally either.  “Como dos gotas de agua” means that two people are very similar and share the same characteristics. Though the expression, “every cloud has a silver lining” is a rather old saying where I’m from, they use it frequently here and in Spanish it is “No hay mal que por bien no venga”.   “Mi pana” means a very close friend or brother.  I child referred to as “malcriado” means they are lazy and expect their parents to do everything for them.  I learned that it is more cool to say “Simòn” or “Posi” instead of just “si” for yes!   Last but not least, the word used I believe exclusively here in Ecuador for “What?” normally translated in Spanish as “Que?” or “Como?” is “Mande?”  I’m told that if a child says “que” to their parents or teachers, it is a sign of disrespect.  They may say that to a peer, but never a person in authority.

We also spoke today about a few cultural differences with being late and how that is considered quite rude where I come from, but here is absolutely no problem.  In some cases, I’ve been told it’s almost strange to come on time. For example, if a party starts at 6PM, you never go at 6PM.  It is more common to show up at 6:30, 7 or even 8.

Overall, today was a lot of fun!  Getting to understand and know a different culture is fascinating and can also help to break down misunderstandings for future.

 

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Protected: New Year in Crucita 2018

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Christmas Party 2017

Well it was an exciting day at Verdad Y Vida!  The children were very eager and some showed up an hour early just to be sure they didn’t miss out on the fun! lol

Prior to that though, Saturday afternoon was spent decorating about 150 Christmas cookies,  filling treat bags, organizing gifts, and prepping for food and games.  A special thank you to one of the moms Yenifer for being such a trooper and helping out with so much!

On Sunday, the festivities included a couple of games (Dave and I even got nominated to be part of the fun).   One game was a race blowing ping pong balls across cups of water.

We also had a game similar to a musical chairs game.

Last, there was cup stacking race. IMG_0424 Participants and spectators alike had a blast!  And chocolate coin awards were earned!IMG_0458

Snacks were dispersed throughout the morning starting with a decorated Christmas cookie.  I’ve learned that this is not something typically done in Ecuador, so I guess the kids experienced a bit of a North American taste in treats today!

They also enjoyed a cup of jello with a dollop of condensed milk and sprinkles.  (my first time with this type of treat….quite good!)

They also had hot dogs cooked in a savory sauce/and onions and then topped with a ranch type sauce and crushed potato chips (another first for me!)

And trust me when I say that ensuring everyone has received all their treats is no easy task and takes a lot of counting and re- counting and checking again.  making sure everyone has one

There are several young girls around 10-12 years old who bring their younger siblings or cousins (some young toddlers) and do a fantastic job protecting and ensuring that they too get fed.  It’s precious to see how much they care for their family members.  And have such fun doing it!

The children each received a goodie bag with a variety of things such as a small amount of treats, a comb, toothbrush, necklace, pencil and a few other odds and ends.  Then each child received a gift.  The little boys received a ball with a smiley face.  The older boys (maybe 6 and up) received a soccer ball!  The younger girls received hula hoops and the older pre-teen/teen girls received perfume.  Even the moms who regularly attend the ladies class on Sunday, received a special gift of perfume.

Everyone was happy and excited and the smiles on their faces, when their names were called to come get their gifts, was priceless.

Word spread fast because we had a few stragglers at the end who wanted in on the festivities.  It was so cute because these boys came at the end and picked up a broom and dustpan and started helping clean up.  Their hopes were that they too might receive a gift (which they did).  They may have been a bit worried at first.

While the day was wonderful, it also takes a lot of planning, work and clean up!  Cristian and Lissette plan to take a couple of weeks vacation now to rest until children’s church resumes after the new year.

The Holidays are upon us again.  As with the first Thanksgiving and Christmas here without family, we try to continue as best we can with new traditions.  This year we had some friends and neighbors over for a Thanksgiving feast complete with all the fixings.  I bought a 22 pound bird from Supermaxi and cooked it in a bag.  Absolutely delicious!  Partly because it had been so long since we have had turkey I’m sure.   I also made a butternut squash pie since I had no pumpkin to work with.  I have to say (as did everyone else) it tasted just as good if not better.

I’m working on making cut out cookies to give to the children at church as well as guards and other neighbors.  The cookie baking takes place over a couple different weekends and I refrigerator them. Cookies Of course, I have Christmas music playing in the background.  This Saturday along with Lissette and a few other moms/kids from church, we will decorate them.  They will be distributed the next day (Sunday the 17th) for our annual Christmas festivities at the church.  The children will also receive toys and treats!  It will be a fun time for all.

This year we have Christmas lights AND a small artificial tree!

That makes 3 trees we have as Dave made a driftwood tree last year and I also won a  tree in a drawing which was homemade by our friend Frank!  The tree is a metal structure with netting and has painted shells all over.  It’s beautiful and looks even more beautiful lit up on my 3rd floor terrace at night!  Tree on roofSo even though it’s a different kind of festive since we are a warm climate away from family…it’s still festive and we make the best of it.  I must admit that I definitely don’t miss the commercialization from back home.  All the shopping…..The bustling of people, the Christmas music playing non stop and the smells perfumes and colognes lingering in the air from customers testing.   There is some of that here, but not nearly to the same level.  Not even close. I never was a big shopper at Christmas (love to online shop though) so being here during the holidays is really a breath of fresh air in that respect.  But I do miss the snow (just for that day) and the warmth of a fireplace.  And most important, we both miss the family.

Aside from the holidays, our schedules seem to be getting more and more filled with wonderful things.  Our weekends are very busy with the children’s church activities.  Some Saturdays (we try to do every other Saturday) we visit local families.  Sundays of course is busy with the church and then often our own time together as adults after the children leave.  Yesterday we spent several hours of planning ahead for next year’s schedule putting together a calendar of events in addition to the regular Sunday activities.   We have recently been requested to have a Bible Study on Tuesdays with the staff  from Gran Oasis Hotel.  This is open to the public, but for now it’s an intimate group of about 15-20 of us.  Cristian gives a message, we have some songs and prayer time.  It’s a precious time for all and though we aren’t fluent in the language, we have a strong bond with these wonderful folks.

I have also taken on another private student whom I teach English to.  Elkin is a 12-year-old boy who has a desire to learn and learns very fast.  ElkinI’m amazed at his desire and dedication as he diligently writes down the new words and phrases he is learning and trys hard with his pronunciation.  He reminds me in some ways of my own son when he was that age so it is such a pleasure for me to interact with him.  With one of my students, we work especially hard on pronunciation.  His goal is to learn the words without a Latin American accent….this is especially hard, but he is doing fantastic!

On Mondays and Wednesdays I also have a new teaching opportunity with GAD (Gobierno Autónomo Descentralizado) which is a government agency that assists with local needs.  They have put together an English program from students from the area and have asked for the expats to help teach.  There were several time slots as well as locations to fill and I have Crucita library along with my friend Tina on Monday and Wednesday mornings.  The other regular teacher from Ecuador who teaches English is a young student intern from the University in Portoviejo.  Though she speaks English, she is still learning and working on pronunciation,  so Tina and I make it a point to have basic conversations with her before and after class so she can practice!  Any time a student can practice with a North American, they love it!  And anytime I can practice speaking with an Ecuadorian who is willing to take time to help me, I love it!  So it’s a win win.

As of the last week and a half to two weeks, I’ve noticed a shift in the weather here.  I believe the humidity is starting to creep in.  It’s still beautiful at night and in the evenings, but depending on the day, it can start getting pretty warm. I told Dave we may need to break out the fans soon as they have been put away over the last 6 months or so.  Remembering back from last year, the really hot weather comes mid January through about April or May.  Last year was quite stifling especially at night when trying to sleep without air conditioning.  This year we are prepared however as we have an A/C unit now in our bedroom!  Perhaps the change in weather has also brought about the huge amount of turtles laying eggs the beach!  Two nights ago, the guards alerted us to a huge tortuga laying eggs.  Dave went out to take a look and she was enormous!  However the next morning, the eggs couldn’t be located to mark off the area.  Many other nests from other turtles have been spotted though and are marked off waiting for the big day when the little fellows make there way back to the ocean.

We have lived in Ecuador for over a year now.  I’m not exactly sure what a good rule of thumb is for measuring how well you are adjusting to a certain area, but I would think one year is sufficient.  Ecuador is so very different from the United States.  Overall, there are obvious differences such as infrastructure and advancement in technology.  But our lifestyle here is quite different than what we had in the states.   At this point, we do not have a car which is a huge change.  But even if we did own a car, we do not live in a community where you can zip over to the grocery store within a couple of miles.  I can’t head over to a store like Walgreens to pick up a birthday card.  Nor could a send a birthday card to friends or family back in the states without planning weeks in advance as it takes a long time for mail to reach it’s destination.

At times we experience power outages.  Not as often anymore, but it does happen and it doesn’t shock us if the power goes out.  Usually it comes back within hours.   Internet tends to be sketchy on the weekends especially when there are a lot of people here.   And of course if the power is out, the internet is out as well.  At times, we get water from the municipality which drains into our cistern.  But if we don’t get water, we have to order a tank to come and fill us up.

Time is not of the essence here.  That is a huge adjustment.  But here, it just isn’t important.  If someone says they are coming today, they will try, however if they don’t make it today, no one is really concerned or worried.  Likewise if you arrange a time to get together with friends or family, arriving anytime within an hour or two window is acceptable.

Driving here is also quite different.  In particular, lanes are merely suggestions.  It isn’t unusual to have someone pass you on the right or left or both at the same time!  Safety is also not the same as in the states.  It isn’t unusual to see an entire family on a motorcycle as that may be their sole means of transportation.  Interestingly the driver is required to wear a helmet (according to the law) but the passengers (including children) are not.  Seeing a cow (or other livestock) transported in the back of a pick up truck is also not completely unusual.

As for where people live….it really depends.   It is very possible to find nice subdivisions similar to the United States.  However, in the country side areas of where we live, it is quite common to live in a cane house with a metal roof and dirt floor.  Laundry is done outside and very often by hand.  Electrical cords are strewn about as there may be only one source for power coming into the home.  For some people, water quality is quite poor resulting in skin conditions and other problems.

Restaurants here in Crucita are family owned and the family may live on the premises.  Sometimes the floor of a restaurant is dirt and the tables and chairs are usually plastic.  On the Malecon, keeping things clean and swept is a non stop occurance.  Within a half hour, tables will need to be wiped down again from the salt that collects due to the sea spray.

So, yes…things are very different here.

We recently went back to the United States to visit family and friends.  The visit was fantastic!  Of course we miss everyone, but the thing that struck me was that I had no real emotion over being back in my homeland.  Don’t get me wrong, The United States is a wonderful country and I’m so grateful to the military who down through the years have fought hard to keep our country safe and free.   Of course, I love my homeland….but I felt somewhat confirmed in the fact that for now, it is no longer my current home.  All the conveniences and choices and entertainment activities were at my fingertips again.  But it seemed different to me this time.  How could it be that I prefer fewer choices?  Or not having the convenience of taking off in the car to run an errand just wasn’t a must?  I love Red Lobster….and that was on my list check list of places to visit when we got to the states.  And it was good no doubt, but not amazing like I remember.

I’m struck with how we change when our environment changes.  I truly have changed.  Here in Ecuador, I don’t find the dirt streets and the dust blowing in my face when the bus races by as odd.  Just normal.  I see the little family tiendas as a real store now and Walgreens as more of a mega store!  lol  My fine dining experiences now involve plastic chairs, real seafood, street dogs strolling by and salt spray from the ocean.  My feet are always dirty.  I might have make up on but I might not.  Usually I don’t wear much jewelry.  I find that 70 degree temperatures with the wind blowing is actually quite chilly!  I tend to wear jeans and long sleeve shirts now whereas in the past, 70’s would have been pretty warm.

I’m finding that I love Ecuador.  It’s my home now.  The biggest love for Ecuador however comes from the people itself.  The culture is different no doubt…sense of time is not the same.  People live in the present and tend not to worry or concern themselves too much about the future.  But above everything else, I find that the people here are for the most part so kind and generous.  Generally speaking,  people here do not seek to accumulate more but rather give.  They give when they themselves don’t know where their next meal is coming from.  It’s a beautiful and humbing experience.

Our friends and ministry partners who are Ecuadorian themselves serve breakfast to all the people who come to church on Sunday mornings.  There is no “budget” for this.  They go and buy bread or fruit the morning of, to serve to their neighbors free of charge.  Depending on how much work they had that week, it may mean that they themselves go without something.  They are being the hands and feet of Christ Himself!

IMG_8832

My friend, Rosie, served us a delicious viche meal on plastic table with a pink tablecloth and lovely dishes while her home is currently open air (2 walls and no roof…only tarp).

The boy from the pharmacy drove Dave to a nearby town (about a half hour drive) in the evening to get a prescription that they didn’t have.  He was joyful and kind and had a hard time even accepting gas money.

When we were having technical difficulties last Tuesday night at our Bible study, everyone present sat patiently and waited for about 20 minutes.  No sighs…no grumbling under their breath….no glancing at their phone….just patience.

The daughter of the roommate I had while in the hospital came by our home with her mother (the patient I shared the room with) to check in and bring us fruit from their garden.

The very poor family who immigrated here from Venezuela that we visited Saturday whose plastic chair didn’t have a back and the seat part was zip tied together gave Cristian and Lissette a bag of fish!

Visiting

These are the things that I am impacted by.  These are the things that make me take notice and think “wow”!  My Ecuadorian friends teach me so much every day by their example which truly mirrors the examples set forth in Scripture of patience and kindness.

I’m proud to call Ecuador my home.  The lifestyle is different in so many ways but it is comforting and refreshing to me now.  My choices are very limited, shopping conveniences are no longer available here in Crucita, and fast food drive throughs don’t exist here either;  but at the same time there is a sense of calmness and peace.

 

Turtles hatching again

We just got back into Crucita, Ecuador from a visit to the United States Thursday.  We again had the privilege of seeing baby turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean.  Each time I see this, it causes me to ponder in-depth and I always see Spiritual parallels with this awesome wonder.

The people working to protect and ensure the little hatchlings arrive safely to their destination watch tirelessly for hours and sometimes in the middle of the evening just like a midwife would do.  They carve out paths for these little creatures to make it to the ocean.

Some of the little turtles move along steadily and quickly and you can tell they have energy and strength, but others walk along, but then stop to rest.  I heard one of the little Ecuadorian children say “murio” which means died.  No little guy, the turtle is only “descansa”,  tired, my friend.

And sure enough, after a few seconds the little turtle takes off again.  The turtle hatching rescuers (not sure what they are officially called) spend hours patiently watching and waiting.  The obvious question would be ….why not just pick them up and put them in the water?  Wouldn’t that make everyone’s life so much easier?  turtles final 2But the answer is profound.  They MUST struggle through this.  Without the struggle, they would have no strength for the mighty ocean which is their final destination.   This reminds me of humans on our path to our destinations in life.  Often we ask why God doesn’t just rescue us and brings us to the destination.  But without struggle, would we be able to handle it once we get there?  The struggle is necessary to strengthen us for what lies ahead.  I also thought of my own children and seeing them go through struggles.  I want to rescue them and make it all better.  However without the struggle, they don’t get strong or grow or learn how to handle the mighty “ocean” of life.  Just like God with us, we carve a path and try to lead and encourage them however it is up to them to get there.

A couple of the turtles starting turning to the left and a couple turned toward the right.  However the ocean was right in front of them.  They needed to keep on the straight path.  How often do we go to the right or to the left when all along the path is right straight  in front of us?  How painful it must be for God to see us struggle and leave that straight path and go through so many unnecessary struggles to the right and to the left.  Similarly it is painful when we as parents see our own children move in paths that cause pain, exhaustion, depression and despair.  turtles final

If the little turtles kept moving to the right or to the left, it would end in death.  There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12)  However, similar to the endless work of the turtle rescuers, our Heavenly Father says to us:  “Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil”…  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding”….  “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight”.

Thank you Lord for teaching me through your Creation profound Biblical Truths.  Thank you for teaching me not to rely on my own limited human understanding but to seek You and to stay the course to the finish line.  Amen. human

Being hospitalized in Ecuador

I try to look upon everything that happens to me as an adventure.  Not worrying, but only trusting that “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose”.  I believe these words and cling to this promise so with most everything that happens, I learn to flow with it and realize that although the road isn’t easy….it’s covered.  There is so much comfort in that!

When I found an abnormal spot on the side of my tongue over a year ago back in the states, I was told to watch it, however it was most likely due to hormone changes in the female body.  I accepted it as “great…nothing going on here” and pretty much dismissed it.  As to “watching it”.  How does one do that when you move to a 3rd world country, and are trying to learn to live day-to-day and learn the language and get through life?  I guess a spot on my tongue wasn’t top priority for me.  That is, until it start to bother me.  Around June or July I believe (after seeing a local doctor to treat for obvious infections etc) I was referred to Dr Leon who is an oncologist in Porto Viejo which is a city about 25 miles from Crucita.  He took one look at the tumor and said it was cancer. Dr Leon has over 40 years experience in medicine with over 25 years experience with treating cancer.  So he’s seen a lot.  He explained the first step was a formal biopsy, but then we would do surgery to remove the painful tumor.  Much to our surprise, the biopsy revealed no cancer!  However Dr Leon still had doubts and said that during surgery another biopsy would be taken to ensure.  He explained that they would be cutting out a tiny portion of my tongue and I would regain all feeling and have no problems with talking, eating, tasting etc.

Surgery was scheduled for September 7, but Doctor Leon had indicated he was going to move it up to get it taken care of sooner.  That never happened, but in retrospect, I now know why.  🙂  The surgery was to be between 1/2 hour to an hour-long and my total stay in the hospital was two nights total.  They want you there the night before surgery as well.

Surgery time was upon us and everything is so confusing.  Dr Leon speaks very little English and staff speaks no English.   We were blessed to have at times Matt from Fundacion La Vida and our friend Omar with us for some appointments but not all. IMG_9159So he remainder of everything that is done and said is left to my imagination.  Which isn’t always good, because sometimes I have quite the imagination.  I wondered if when they put me under if they would have me count backwards.  Would it be in English or Spanish?  These are the types of thoughts that plagued my brain.  They laid me on the very skinny table and fitted me with a properly sized oxygen mask and I saw a man insert a medicine in my IV and within seconds I realized, this is it.  No counting.  I was out.

I believe I went in to the operating room maybe around 8:30.  By the time I came out it was 12:30-1.  Slightly more than the hour they predicted, however they also dealt with “slightly more” than they thought they were.  The doctor said that he saw cancer cells under the scope and they decided to cut further to ensure that it was removed.  Another biopsy was taken and results will be back shortly.  In addition they went into my throat and I woke up to a 5 inch slice on my jaw line where lymph nodes had been removed as well as a drainage tube inserted in my neck.  I remember waking up to a horrible headache.  My tongue completely numb and my neck completely numb.  Pain was very minimal throughout the whole process other than the head ache when I woke up.   My surgery quadrupled in time and so did my stay in the hospital.  I was there 4 nights.

My experience at Solca was great.  The hospital is well-known throughout Ecuador with 5 locations throughout the country.  The hospital I was in was the regional hospital for the province of Manabí.  The staff is professional and friendly and I can’t say enough about Dr Leon who made some important decisions during my surgery to go more in-depth and take it to the next level in order to ensure my health will be completely renewed.

The hospital is very clean and rooms are constantly being swept and mopped several times a day.

We also saw some rooms without patients being completely disassembled with all beds in hallways to ensure a proper sanitation of the room.  My bedding was changed daily.   All equipment is modern and clean and from a lay person’s standpoint, all proper precautions are used to ensure that disease is contained and not passed to other patients.  The liquid diet I was on was fantastic.  I wish I knew what they served me (when I asked, of course it didn’t ring a bell) but one morning for breakfast I was served a delicious warm liquid custard type food with what tasted like a slight cinnamon seasoning.IMG_9184  It was almost like a light version of pumpkin pie before it was cooked.  Yum.  Their soups were wonderful.  I would have to say in spite of the fact that this was hospital food, it was some of the best darn hospital food I’ve ever had!  I’m extremely grateful for the care I received at this hospital and would have no hesitations of recommending this facility to anyone.

I also want to touch on the differences.  I call them differences because that’s simply what they are.  Our American culture is different from Ecuador.  What we find “unacceptable” is perfectly normal here.  So I want to talk about them as I find it interesting, but in no way is this meant disparaging toward this culture and country.

  • One thing I had noticed even prior to the hospitalization, during my doctor visits is that the woman’s bathroom does not have toilet paper nor soap.  You must bring your own, or learn to drip dry.   Also bring your own hand sanitizer.   While the bathroom in my hospital room did have a soap dispenser with soap in it, there was no toilet paper.  We needed to go purchase some at a local tienda across the street.  There was a sheet and very nice blanket (all in plastic…had been sanitized) however I did not have a pillow.  Thankfully I brought my own.  Towels are available upon request however there are no wash cloths.  Bar soap and shampoo must be brought from home.
  • Everything here is paid for in advance.  There is no billing per se.  You settle your debt immediately.  Prior to surgery, the doctor said I needed blood work, a chest X ray and I needed to see a cardiologist.  This is all done on your own.  You find the facility to go to get this done.  Sometimes it can be done directly at the hospital, but other times it cannot.  He may give you recommendations on where to go to get this done, however it’s up to you to go find a place to do it and bring the results back to the doctor.  All medicine that the staff uses on you during your stay in the hospital is purchased up front.

    The doctor will write an order and you go to the pharmacy (take a number like at the deli dept back home) and they will call your number and fill your order.  All medicine including syringes etc are in a plastic bag that you bring back to the medical staff so they can administer the medication.  Prior to surgery we were told I needed a diaper and a pair of support stockings. IMG_9167 How fun is that!!  Well the pharmacy didn’t just sell one diaper…go figure.  My roommate bought a pack and let me use one of hers.

  • Another huge difference (but then again maybe they DO do this in the states??) was that several times in the middle of the night, the staff comes in abruptly using their “outside voices” and flipping on the bright fluorescent lighting to do simple tasks.  There is no hushed whispers or gentle lighting.  At 11PM, they do their staff rotation and I swear it reminded me of a Wal-Mart oo rah-rah staff meeting as they all come in talking loudly, flipping on the light, giggling and telling jokes.  And almost as quickly as they come in, they leave.  I thought of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz when she said:  ” My, people sure do come and go quickly around here.”
  • Dave was asked on more than one occasion to help transport a patient from the stretcher to the bed, something you would not see in the states due to liability issues.  lol  Also…privacy issues are non-existent.  They don’t have HIPAA laws here and people will crowd around when you are making appointments or paying and able to hear all the details of your stay, the cost etc.  This is also true in the hospital rooms….no privacy as to what is ailing you or what needs to take place.  Your room-mate will most likely get a full earful of the exciting details.
  • We also found that the staff and even patients are good with having their pictures taken.  Dr Leon even motioned for Dave to come by and take a picture of the inside of my mouth.  They love this!  And often will pose!  You never know….maybe they are the next Ecuadorian talent that has gone unnoticed!
  • It seems that all patients have a relative or friend with them at all times also.  They encourage people to stay with you as they are the “runners”.  Any medications that are needed, they are responsible to go get them.  Helping with bathroom and showers falls on your  loved one as well.  Of course settling the bill needs to be done at the hospital and this will need to be handled by them too.  Although there were no cots or extra beds the first 3 nights, Dave was able to sleep in my hospital bed right with me.  Close quarters, but they allowed it none the less.  The 3rd night in the room, an Ecuadorian woman came in accompanied by her two adult daughters.  I’m struck with emotion as she was loved on and cared for by her girls.  Kissing her and stroking her hair.  Helping her to the bathroom and overall making her comfortable.  Not calling in nurses to assist, but doing their best with their mom on their own. IMG_9191  I’ve noticed that this is quite the norm here in Ecuador where children are extremely loving to their parents/grandparents.  It warms my heart to see the level of intimacy displayed.  This says a lot about the people of this country.

Earlier on I mentioned that Dr Leon was going to move up my surgery instead of waiting until the 7th of September.  Well that never happened and I was good with that, but now I know why it stayed the date it was.   As we were checking in, I saw a gringa trying to communicate with the office staff and was having some difficulty.  Our friend Omar who is fluent in English and Spanish was with us and of course offered his assistance.  He was able to give her some instructions including the fact that she needed to buy a diaper (we still laugh about that).  After completing our paperwork, we were told that the room was still not ready for check in and that we were free to go get something to eat across the road.  Upon eating lunch, we see Sandie there next door at the pharmacy trying to buy a diaper but having some difficulty communicating.  She just wanted 1 diaper but apparently you can’t buy just one diaper.  Omar helped.  She came by and said she obviously didn’t need six so she gave me one from her pack.  Oh joy!  I told Sandie….”just how a girl wants to spend a beautiful afternoon….diaper shopping….and sharing with friends who may be in need.”.  We laughed.

After lunch, we headed back up to Solca and the room was ready.  They directly me all the way down the hall to the last door on the left and who do I see waiting for me in there?  Sandie!  She was my room-mate for the next two nights.  What a delight!  Her and her husband Tom live in Bahia (about an hour up the coast from us) and have been here for several years now.  It was wonderful having someone to joke with and laugh with.  Some of these things you just have to laugh about.  Like the diaper thing….still kills me.  Sandie has a great sense of humor which I love, but the most precious of all is that she is a believer in Jesus Christ!  Woo hoo!!!  Instant bond!  She mentioned that her pastor and a couple of others were stopping by to pray with her and I felt the Holy Spirit feeding my soul and comforting me and saying “it’s all good!  I’ve got this covered!”   What a time of fellowship….I couldn’t stop smiling.  The most touching part to me was I felt God hugging me.  The odds of having a gringa in my room with me were not good.  But have a strong Christian sold our for Christ room mate was only icing on the cake!  So I took this entire September 7th date as a divine date of the Lord who knew all along.  In the mean time, I’ve met some more beautiful Christian believers from Porto Viejo and feel blessed beyond measure.  God gave me the perfect room mate who I will know for all eternity as a sister now!  God is in control….Our ways are not His ways.  Wait on Him.  These are truths that I cling to these days.

Bottom line…no one wants to be sick.  But, would I trade my Solca experience for a different one?  NO WAY!  Life is wonderful when God is in it and I don’t have to worry about the details.