Newsletter November 2010
It is amazing to think that over a year has passed since I left Guayaquil last summer to finish my five years on the Missions. So much has happened since then, both for me and my Ecuadorian friends. So I was very much looking forward to visiting them in October of this year. I had hoped to be going with some Kilmarnock youngsters but that was not to be. The fact that I went on my own allowed me to be more relaxed about what I did while there.
This newsletter, therefore, is a report about what I found while there, the various changes that have taken place and the progress that you can see around the shanty town of Nueva Prosperina. It is also, of course, an appeal for financial help – for the Soup Kitchen, for school fees and for the forthcoming trip to the Ecuadorians to Scotland. Read on and may God bless you and your families at Christmas.
The School Building
The Nappa Wedding
Talk on “Life on the Missions”
While I was on the Missions, my only involvement with our daily Soup Kitchen was to provide the cash from Scotland to help run it. I would from time to time have my dinner there to share in their food. But on this visit I was able to spend more time in the Soup Kitchen. Most days I spent some time preparing the food and helping Gladys and Marlene, our two cooks. I had felt that maybe less people were coming each day to the kitchen since I knew that costs had increased so I was amazed to find out that they had increased their numbers: they now serve 150 meals each day to the neediest kids in the area. And while preparing and serving the food, I was able to speak to the children that came to eat. Their parents were out all day and so they were returning home after school to an empty house and an empty stomach.
This Soup Kitchen – with its soup, fruit juice and rice dish – definitely feeds the poor of Nueva Prosperina. Can you help feed the poor? It costs £5 per month to feed a child each day at our Soup Kitchen. Please help; you can really make a difference.
It has been a long time in the coming. Some 2 years ago, while still on the Missions, I started the whole process of moving the Medical Centre from the school property to be near the Nueva Prosperina Parish Church. There were disputes over land, worries about the finances needed and who was going to support it once it was built but the building work was eventually started in May. So I was rather surprised to find that not a lot of work had been done by the time I started my visit. I managed to have a visit with the Priest at the head of the housing charity that will run the Medical Centre and he suggested that we have a short Blessing Ceremony while I was in the country. That seemed to spark the workers into action and, by the time we had the Ceremony at the end of my trip, the only work needing done was the painting and work around the grounds. So the good news is that the Medical Centre will be up and running within the month. It will have a general medical room, paediatrics, gynaecology and dentistry as well as a pharmacy. Being run by the housing charity that provides the bamboo homes for so many poor people, the costs of medical treatment will be minimal so that it will be a great bonus to the poor people that live all around Nueva Prosperina.
Of course, the Medical Centre could not have been built without financial support from back home – people all over Scotland but, in particular, the ‘2 Hands’ charity from England. The people of Nueva Prosperina asked me to make sure that you all know how deeply grateful they are for your generous help.