Monday, 9 July 2012

Final Post. I'm Home.

I do apologize for the long time it has been since I posted a blog. To make a long story short, my time in Ecuador stopped being some big new adventure I wanted to write about every day and simply turned into living life. It was still awesome and I have tons of stories and experiences to share but I just stopped really wanting to get home and write about it. 

I think in my last post, I said that I had been sick for a while. Well that sickness lasted 2 weeks. I lost about 15 lbs, depleted all my gained muscles from the month previous and shrunk my stomach down to the size of a 12 year old girls stomach. The problem was a parasite and I know I said I had gotten medicine but it was the wrong kind apparently. Once I finally realized that and got the right stuff, the parasite was gone in just two days and I was back to normal. I began eating again only this time even more than I had before. I had to make up for lost time and lost food. As a result, I am now sitting on my couch in Kentucky and have gained back all the weight I lost but without the muscle. 

After my sickness lifted, school had ended and it was time for summer staff. Several new people came into Casa de Fe as the regular teachers left. We all went to Banos the weekend Kelcy left and had a great time hanging with her. My highlight from that trip was sitting in hot tubs at the top of the mountains overlooking Banos late at night. It was a fun experience and so beautiful. Once summer staff started, my schedule looked a little different. I only had a week left of work since I would be flying out the next Tuesday. Another reason I didn't write towards the end is because I was coming home 3 days prior to when I had told my friends and mainly Hannah. I wanted to surprise her so if I had written of my packing and saying goodbyes a week early, she would have known something was up.

Summer looked like this. I showed up at 8 for a staff meeting and short prayer time. At 8:45 I helped lead a small Bible time with the boys of the house. They ranged from ages 2 to 11. That was an adventure for sure. Then at 9, I tutored Javier and Wilson for an hour then played with the toddlers for another hour. At 1130, I ran free time for the kids until my lunch break at noon. After Alexanders, I would return and help lead choose an activity time then big activity time. In these times we would do everything from sports to crafts to walking to the park in the city. By the end of our staff meeting at 530, I would be free to return home. Every night though I would take a child out to dinner after work. I took Wilson the first night, Gilmar the second and Javier the third. It was a ton of fun hanging with those guys. 

On Friday of my last day, I went and took pictures with all the kids so I could remember all of them easier. I said my goodbyes on Saturday and then headed to Quito on Sunday. On my last two nights in Shell, we went to Puyo for dinner at two Americanized fancy restaurants that were so good. A lot of the summer staff went as well so it was fun hanging out with everyone before I left. In Quito, Melissa, who was flying out the same day, and I walked around and shopped. It was a really fun day and I was able to buy lots of gifts for family and friends back home.

Me and the boys during morning devotion. It looks like a posed picture
but this is actually a fairly close representation of how my mornings looked.
What a blessing! I love all those boys and that is only a few of them. From
left to right: (Back Row) Dennis, Wilson, me, Gilmar (Middle) Javier, Aleho,
Martin, (Front) Antony.

These were the awesome Maestros I got to work with every 
day for construction They were all so smart and so good at their jobs. 
It was a blessing to know them. From Left to Right: Me, Heime, 
Hernan (squatting), Eddison, Louise, Flavio or Puma 

All of the oldest girls were also a blessing to know. I really hope to stay 
in their lives and at least stay in touch as best as I can. They all have
amazing bright futures and know God loves them which is most important.
From left to right: (back) Julissa, Thalia. (middle) Rosa, me, Jenny, Abigail
(front) Maria, Ana, Maribel, Marcia

This is Nicole and Ruby, two of the middle aged girls. They are so sweet
and I can't wait to see them grow. I always loved how Ruby would say 
my name every time she saw me: "Mr. Cato" she said it not perfectly 
correct but it was always really cute.

Once Tuesday rolled around and it was time to go, I woke up at 3 in the morning to head home to my unsuspecting girlfriend. All went well with the travel and I was in Lexington by 6 that night. My whole family picked me up, handed me the flowers I had requested and then we went to get Hannah. It was great seeing my family and being able to catch up after two months. After we got to Hannah's street, I had my parents pull away and I just sat out on the street with my little flowers waiting for her to drive up from work. She did eventually come and I surprised her and gave her a big hug. It was kinda awkward because her neighbor was trying to back out of his driveway and she stopped the car when she saw me right in front. No worries though, it was a good moment. 

We all went from there to dinner at Abuelos which was so good and then after that we returned home to debrief the fam. I went through all my pictures and told all my stories and was just really happy to be home. Below are some of my pics from the trip.

In reflecting on my trip, I recognized how much of a true blessing it was to have gotten to go. I learned a lot about myself and grew in several areas that greatly needed growth. I learned a lot about patience and flexibility which very much needed in my life. Not to say I am patient and flexible now but I am definitely working on it and am a lot better now than before. It was so much fun getting to know the kids and I know this is said a lot but they really did help me more than I helped them. I learned that my calling as of now is not overseas but rather here in the States. With that being said however, the trip did spark a desire in me to travel and to serve abroad in some other forms in the future. I gained a greater appreciation for missionaries and I truly do hope that someday I can return to Casa de Fe even if just to see the kids again. I built relationships with a lot of kids there and I really do hope to keep them up. It was such a blessing to go and I am so thankful to God for the opportunity. If anyone is ever looking for a place to go short or long term, I could not think of a better place to recommend. Thanks God and thank you for reading. God Bless you.