Children’s Day

Recently we were introduced to some new Ecuadorian friends here in Crucita who moved here about a year ago from Porto Viejo to follow God’s call to start a Christian ministry for the children in Crucita.  They offer a safe place for kids to go on Saturday afternoons from 3-6 as well as Sunday mornings from 10:30-12.  Recently some of the mothers have also decided to join the fun!

Today was an extra special day to celebrate kids called Dia de Ninos with over 120 neighborhood friends coming to the event!  It started off with each child receiving a breakfast of batido (similar to a milkshake or smoothie) as well as a pastry roll.  There was music, prayer and a special speaker who told them several stories relating to faith.  He asked for actors and actresses to help out as he explained the story of Jesus healing a little girl as well as two blind men.  (The blind men took their jobs very seriously…keeping their eyes tightly closed.)

In children’s church each Sunday, the kids and parents alike are awarded “money” to spend in the church store.  By participating and answering questions related to the teachings that day, they are able to earn store dollars which can be cashed in on certain days.  Well today, they had a chance to cash in!  What an excitement there was.  Some of the merchandise included things like socks, toothpaste, coloring books, books, fun jewelry and other trinkets.

 

The Differences here

The day we arrived it was close to sundown so we had a very limited amount of time to find some very basic groceries.  There are no grocery stores here as most of us are familiar with,  but quite a very tiendas (family corner stores with basics).  Jorge, our driver was nice enough to drive us to one and communicate with them in Spanish what we needed.  In most of the tiendas, you don’t go in and walk around.  It’s similar to a gas station back home with cigarettes, water, and snacks behind the counter like you might see in a larger city.  We bought some lettuce, other veggies for salad, bread, chicken, lunch meat,  4 large bottles of water (the kind that go on a water dispenser) and a few other misc items to get us by.  The water bottles were about $6 a each because you are paying for the bottle as well.  To refill them you simply exchange them out like we do for propane gas for grills.  I believe to refill is $1.  Jorge dropped us back off and headed back to Guayaquil and we headed in the house to start our new life.  It was weird.  Nothing is familiar and the little bit we packed  was as exciting as I used to feel as a kid opening my Christmas gifts.  Anything familiar is very comforting.  For example, most of the lighting is fluorescent and to me it is quite depressing. Lamps are very important to me to create a homey feeling.  I brought one tiny lamp with me that I used as a decoration in one of my bathrooms back home.  It was basically a night-light we left on all the time.  Here it is our only lamp and I was so happy to plug it is and confirm it still worked and was not broken.  My Scentsy lamp which is a beautiful light with glass stones in the inner glass wall was broken and unusable.  So all my Scentsy wax I brought will have to sit and look pretty until I can get a replacement (if that happens).

In terms of getting around, we will be relying heavily upon public transportation.  Tuk Tuks (Motor bikes with seating like a taxi) are very popular here as well as buses to get to areas further away.  So far we have not ventured out via public transportation but have actually met several ex-pats that have taken us around some.  Coming from the states and hopping in the car to go wherever is something I miss, but maybe I will get used to it.  A couple of the expats we met said they would not be without a car, however if we choose to have a car we better be prepared to learn how to drive as they do here.  Cars are also extremely pricey in Ecuador and unlike the states, they do NOT depreciate we’ve been told.  You will basically pay double for the same car you would back in the states.  The insurance however is quite minimal.  My understanding is that it is roughly $70 a year for the minimum “liability insurance” and then maybe another $100 if you want additional coverage.  Gas prices are about the same as the states.  Since most of the streets are dirt and very dusty, keeping a car clean is non-existent.  Also, the salt air is very tough on all mechanical equipment including vehicles.  One of our new friends here brought us a pad-a-lock to use as we were without one.  He said it would last about two weeks due to corrosion from the salt.

We are still adjusting to basic life and I’m about to do my first load of laundry.  We have no dryer so Dave is trying to install a clothes line for me.  Last night we had salad, chicken and string beans for dinner which was my first meal that I cooked.  I quickly realized that all the kitchen items that I gave away and sold on Varage sale, I would kill for now.  The “furnished” house is very basic and I discovered I don’t even have mixing bowls.  I may need to use pots for that.  Purchasing items here such as glass bowls is outrageous in price.  You will easily pay double or triple for the same item in the states.  A coffee maker that would cost maybe $20 in the states will be $45 here.  So the question is where is the affordability factor in us moving to Ecuador?  Property (renting or owning)….property taxes….health care….this is where you save.  If anyone considers moving here, I would highly recommend bringing as much as you possibly can with you such as shipping a container which we opted not to do.  In the long run, you will feel more settled and of course you already own the items.  Upon initially moving here, you have a limited time to bring the items duty-free.  So essentially you pay for shipping which in the long run is cheaper than buying everything here.  Dave and I have opted to live primitively (good thing both of us liked Gilligan’s Island growing up).  On our walk on the beach today, Dave found some flat stones (soap dishes) and some old fishing line and an old gallon jug with the top cut off that he said he could use as a shovel.  This is all part of the adventure!    🙂

**the pictures above are taken from our property.  The house, Dave hanging a clothes line, properties on either side, tractors/boats on the beach, kids playing in the ocean etc.

Spanish words of the day as taught to me by the handyman Stalin.

Coconut Palm Trees- Palmas de coco

Clothes Pins-Pinzas de ropa