We spent 3 weeks in a town called San Francisco, which is a small suburb of Latacunga. I really enjoyed living in this town because we had more access to civilization, compared to Romerillos, where we were living in “el campo.” There were several days we took a bus to the city of Latacunga just to go to the mall that felt “American.” They had nice stores, fast food, and coffee shops. A coffee shop with a real espresso machine is very difficult to find here (especially in the small towns)! So it was nice to “escape” for a little bit. The mall also had a giant big screen tv and we watched several of the World Cup games there. Of course we were the only fans watching the US games, but when Ecuador played, the mall was packed. It was fun to watch the game and cheer for Ecuador with a mall full of fútbol-loving, patriotic Ecuadorian fans.
We stayed with a lovely host family in one of the nicest houses I have seen in Ecuador. It was really nice to have a hot shower every day. However, we had to get used to life without a toilet seat. Apparently toilet seats are a luxury item here in Ecuador. But I’ll definitely never take for granted a toilet seat again!
Digna, our host mom, is the president of the FEDICE group of women in San Francisco. She raises and sells chickens for an income. She also has a pig, which will sell for about $400.00 when it’s fat enough. She has guinea pigs and rabbits to sell for food as well.
Each day, we taught English in the preschool. FEDICE supports this particular preschool and has a great relationship with them. The Oregon Disciples of Christ churches also have fundraised and supported this particular preschool center for years.
I enjoyed teaching English, but teaching kids who can’t read or write was a new challenge. It was very difficult for me to come up with activities for the 2-year-old class, especially because some of them are not yet talking. We had three classes each morning, a half an hour for each one. I loved the four-year old class and I was so proud that they learned all their colors and the names of family members.
In the afternoon, I taught an after-school English class for older students. There were about 8 students and they were all very excited to learn English. We played lots of games and they all really enjoyed coming to class each afternoon. I had a great time with them.
Overall, we had a great time in San Francisco. I’m thankful for getting to know Digna and her family, the women of the community, and the children and teachers of the preschool. Yesterday, July 19th, we returned to San Francisco where we celebrated the 20th year anniversary of FEDICE. It was wonderful to see all the women and children of the community again. The women worked extremely hard to cook a meal for 125 people for the celebration and they did a fabulous job!