This is Colegio Bethel in Pifo. Colegio is the Spanish word for secondary school. I originally thought of it as high school...but discovered that there are 8th graders on the campus. This campus was originally an hacienda which is the Spanish word for ranch or farm. It was built in 1882. The mission team that I joined has been coming here to do various work projects for the past 9 years. This year there were two projects underway: building a basketball court and repairing and painting adobe walls.The little girl in the picture is named Shirley. She lives with her parents and sister on the campus of Colegio Bethel. Her parents are the caretakers of the place. Shirley's mother, Monica cooks for the students and staff. Shirley is named after the woman standing on the right. She has been coming down with her husband Rich (holding little Shirley) and leading the mission team for 9 years now.This is Monica cooking chicken for us in an oven that it is about 110 years old. The meal turned out to be fabulous!At every meal Ecuadorians serve this sauce called aji (pronounced Ah-hee). I guess it is their version of salsa. It is quite spicy. They pretty much put it on everything. I have put it on my rice here.On Tuesday of the first week, the students of the school gathered together to give us a welcome presentation. They played music and sang for us. They also wanted one of us to get up and share a testimony. I ended up being volunteered. I gave part of it in Spanish and part of it in English. Luckily I had George to help me out with translating. Although I did very well with my Spanish, I am hardly what you would call fluent. They must have liked it because they laughed at all of my jokes.Here is the beginning of our painting/scraping/repairing job of the adobe walls. This is Frank. Frank is a very special man of God. He has been coming to Ecuador for 9 years and all of the people love him. I will post more about him later.
Working with Ecuadorians on a major job can be quite interesting (and a little frustrating). They may not have any of the tools that you need...or they may see a job as "good enough" when it is not (by American standards). Their method of completing a job might be the most impractical way of doing it that can be imagined. We were warned of this before we even left the USA and told to just smile and do it their way. Enough said. I will say that the people I met in Ecuador must be some of the most cheerful and down to earth individuals around.