Guest posts are pretty rare on this blog, mainly because I am not organized enough to manage it! Today I have a very special guest post – my oldest son is sharing about his experience in Ecuador. This is his first time to write on my blog! He is a researcher – he likes facts, statistics, black & white. I encouraged him in the process of sharing all the facts that his mind is processing to also share how those facts have impacted him. He is a pretty straight forward guy and I gave him free reign in what he wrote about and what pictures he chose (I was so very tempted to crop my talking face out of one pic!). It is an honor to have his thoughts and perspective shared here today. (and yes…we chose to let him share his name in the process)
Hi, I’m Corbett. I’m almost 12 years old. I have had the amazing honor of being on this trip with my friends Caleb, Calvin, our media guy Sam, our moms, Bri our trip leader, and our amazing translators Andrea, Jairo and Pauli. This post is about my experience in Ecuador and Compassion International.
In Ecuador, most people travel by foot. Although some travel by bus or taxi. Only a few can afford to have a car. Almost all of the children that go to school have to walk pretty far distances to get to school. In many homes the children’s parents have migrated, so the children live alone or with their grandparents. Many of the children have to wash their clothes and their siblings clothes. Sadly many teenagers have committed suicide because they live alone since their parents have migrated. Many of the children’s reasons for committing suicide are I don’t want to work hard. I don’t want to be hungry. I don’t want to be the parent. I feel like I should share this because lives would be different if they were sponsored.
The average amount of money a family earns goes from $150 to $200 to $360 a month in Ecuador. Many of the poorest families make only $60 a month or $2 dollars a day. Jobs do not always last long. In the coastal areas, many fisherman can be found just sitting because its not fishing season or because they don’t have a boat or fishing rod or net. In some families, they only eat a few chopped up fish mixed with water because they can’t afford for everyone to have fish. Poverty in Ecuador is extremely high in some areas. When you sponsor a child, you help provide for him or her.
The work of Compassion is amazing. They have many funds and programs. I will talk about a one of the programs. Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program is unique. The program connects one child to one sponsor that should help him with letters develop into the extraordinary child that God has created him or her to be. Through this program the child receives medical care, educational opportunities, nutrition, Christan education and essential life training. Most importantly the program helps the children get the opportunity to become disciples of Christ.
I have personally seen the work of the Child Sponsorship Program. I got to meet and play with Ismael, my family’s sponsor child. We got to go to his home. He lives in three rooms each smaller than 10ft. They borrowed furniture from neighbors so we had something to sit on. He gave us a book with photos of his family.
I gave him a soccer ball or as they say in England and Ecuador a “football.” Ishmael’s home, which was made of concrete, was the one on the roof of a house. We also gave his family a photo of our family.This is a photo of Quito. I’m with Caleb (left), Me (middle) and Calvin (right). Many people here share concrete homes, one family on bottom floor and the other family on the top floor. It is very common to see street vendors come when your car or bus stops in traffic. They try to sell food. Plantains are very popular and are commonly sold by vendors. The plantain looks like a banana, but beware it is very waxy to the taste and should be cooked.This is me, my mom and my friend Calvin. This was our third and final dance of the trip. The first and second dances were extremely complicated and were for 16 year old girls. The adults and us kids were really awkward in the beginning, but we all did the third dance okay. All of the dances were in Spanish, of course, so I didn’t understand a thing that they were saying. The dance went like “hands up, hands down, hands to the right clap twice, hands to the left clap twice, clap four times repeat.” My friends and I were really awkward in the dancing.One night we stayed up to 12:00am. The moms were blogging and us boys were mine crafting. Then, we all got up at 3:30am the next morning to get on a plane to fly to a more rural area. We visited a home in the rural area and got to help with their chores. We got to really experience their daily life. In many U.S. stores you can get quinoa by a pound or more. It took me about five minutes to grind about thirty stalks of quinoa, which equaled about two tablespoons. There were thousands more stalks that the family’s dad would grind per day.
I also broke open a vegetable called sambo. My mom caught a photo of me hitting the stalk, although it looks like I’m just pushing it. Sam was happy that the stalk just came off when he was breaking the sambo.
This is one of the many Compassion centers that we visited. Our language was different but almost all boys always love a good hard game of soccer. They told our translators that they knew where a bigger field was located. We then went and played soccer there. Letters are really important. We visited a home of a girl named Brenda. Our translator asked her if she had any letters. She smiled and went to her special drawer and pulled out her letters. She talked about each of them. Our translator asked her which letter was her favorite. She laughed and pulled out the letter below. Our translator asked, “Why is it your favorite?”and she told us because her sponsor messed up writing it and put smiley face stickers to cover her mistake. Sam is amazing. He took a photo of her sponsor’s contact info and asked the girl what she wanted to say to her sponsor. While she was talking, he took a video and he is going to send it to her sponsor. In the homes we visited, he took a photo of every child’s sponsor’s info and sent a message to that sponsor. He told him or her that we visited their sponsor child. Let’s say you are a sponsor and you send a letter every four months, think you would feel if you were the child and saw all of the other kids get letters every month and you didn’t. You would be really sad.
A few days after we visited Brenda, we went to a home of a older brother. We asked the boy if he had any letters. He told us he had never got one although his younger brother, who was also sponsored, and the other sponsor kids had. I felt sad hearing that. Even though we write a lot of letters to our sponsored kids, it made me feel like we need to have a Letter Day where we write to our sponsored kids.We rode twice by truck to the sponsor kids homes. I liked riding truck because you got to see homes, fields, pigs, dogs, and sometimes cows.We listened to Fernado Puga. He is the country Directer of Compassion in Ecuador. The work that Compassion had done was incredible.Today was Fun Day. We got to go eat Burger King and later go to an indoor playground with Ismael. Even though he’s from a different country, Ismael and I will always like Burger King.I helped Ismael build a Lego set that me and my brothers chose for him. Since it was small, he can build it into three different sets and the sets were all types of cars.It’s war so no mercy and no one can beat us.Goodbyes are hard. Ismael and I promised each other that I would learn more Spanish and he would learn more English. Next time we won’t need Pauli our translator (she did not like it when we told her that though).I personally want to thank our translators Pauli, Andrea and Jairo. We will head back home and maybe later come back on another trip, but they will stay helping Compassion. I also want to thank Sam our funny media guy, Bri our amazing trip leader and Mike our great photographer. You should also go see my good friends Caleb’s and Calvin’s posts. When you sponsor a child and send them letters, you will completely change their and their family’s lives.