Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mother´s Day in Ecuador

This was the card a young sister made for each women in our ward, she did a beautiful job, they look like a lot of work.

Mother´s Day gifts; flowers and a nativity set.

Primary children singing on Mother´s Day.

Mother´s Day May 8, 2011

It was different being here for Mother´s Day. One of the single young adult sisters in our ward handmade a special little card which she handed out to each sister as we entered the chapel. The Primary came into Relief Society and sang, handed out a card they had made in Primary to their Moms and then gave each sister a treat. The Relief Society Presidency bore their testimonies. Dad got me flowers and a beautiful Tagua Nut nativity set. We also went out to dinner on Saturday with the other Senior Missionaries to a very nice stake house. I also purchased 3 new blouses for our trip to the coast. The best part of the day was talking to each of you on Skype. I am so thankful for the technology that keeps us connected. I love all of you!

Health Fair and Other Activities

Dad working hard, Mom playing around with the camera.

Mom in the office by a plaque we received from the Day Care Center in Ibarra.

Dad in our office by the white board where we keep track of our various projects. You can see several are crossed off this means they are completed.

This was a previous meeting were Dad and I help serve breakfast, just before leaving for the Oriente. I could post several pictures of us serving but after awhile it gets old and actually I don´t take pictures much any more of these.

This was our latest meeting. Elder and Sister Geldmacher and I helped serve breakfast and then fixed luch for the Zone Leaders. I also helped Sister Rogers present an emergency first aid training/game to the leaders (sorry didn´t get any pictures of the game). That evening Dad and I served dinner at the mission home to the Zone Leaders. I also did some cooking for this whole event. We love being with the missionaries it is so fun to watch how much they can eat and they are always so grateful.

Pictures of the Health Fair, at least twice a year we visit each Zone and do the height, weight and blood pressure of each missionary. We also do some health teaching, for this one we did teaching on skin infections and oral care. Each missionary was given a new toothbrush.

Dad has been a little worried that many of you will think we only do sightseeing and touristy things, as that is mostly what I seem to post on the blog. He is worried that you will think we are not doing our humanitarian work or even much missionary work. So here is the real scoop. In April we traveled lots doing health fairs for the missionaries. During the time we traveled we looked for or made contacts for humanitarian projects in each of the areas we visited. Most of the pictures on the blog are taken from bus windows, or at quick stops. We do get to visit some sites, at least we try, at each of the locations we go to and I take lots of pictures. Just trust me when I say that pictures of our everyday stuff would really be boring and you would not get to see any of this beautiful country even if THE VIEW is from a bus window.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Farewelll to Sister Dresen

President and Sister Sloan with Sister Dresen.

The senior missionaries, with President and Sister Sloan.

The going away dinner at the mission home.

Tuesday May 2, 2011

Sister Dresen left for home today. We will miss her but she has served well and faithfully and is excited to see her family. Last evening we had a dinner for her at the mission home with all the senior missionaries. Today she helped get one last dinner ready, and then helped serve the young missionaries. She completed her mission by literally serving right up to the end. After the meal Sister Sloan took her to the airport, the office Elders helped get her bags inside and she was on her way. It seems strange to pass her apartment, she lived just down the hall from us, and know she isn´t there anymore.

Special Training for Ambato, Riobamba and the Oriente

Tuesday April 26, 2011

Today is our last special training/health fair. We traveled to Ambato and Sister Dresen was able to go with us. She leaves for home next week and so this was her last opportunity to met with the missionaries. She has made packages of homemade cookies for all the missionaries (200 of them) which have been given out at these special trainings. Today she got to deliver them in person.
We were able to make a short visit to the hospital to discuss a project they have requested. We did an NRT here last January, it was so nice to see and visit many of the people we worked with at that training.

As we were leaving I looked behind us and Volcán Tungurahua was visable, she has come to life again and is sending ash high into the atmosphere. The pictures aren´t to great but remember they are from the bus window and I was straining to turn around to get them.

Sister Rogers and Sister Dresen, outside the topiary garden. Sister Dresen had not seen the garden so we walked there from the church, but the gates were locked, we got a few pictures through the fence.

Elders enjoying the cookies!

As we were traveling out of Quito I got some beautiful shots of Volcán Cotopaxi.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Few Traveling Pictures

I have several pictures and a few stories I want to share so I am going to try a post about them and hope I don't get to involved and lose everyones interest.

Volcano Cotocachi known as Mama Cotocachi, near Otavallo.

Volcano Imbabura. The story goes according to my guide book: "The locals refer to Volcán Imbabura as Taita (Daddy) Imbabura and Volcán Cotacachi as Mama Cotacachi. These two extinct volcanoes can be seen from Otavalo on clear days: the massive bulk of Taita to the east and the sharper, jagged peak of Mama to the northwest. When it rains in Otavalo, they say that Taita Imbabura is pissing in the valley. Another legend suggests that when Mama Cotacachi awakes with a fresh covering of snow, Taita Imbabura has paid her a conjugal visit. What happens when snow falls on Imbabura? Or when drought dries the valleys? You´ll have to ask a local."

They have done some fun things with their light posts in Otavallo.

Fields in Otavallo, on our way to the Condor Park.

Everywhere we go in Ecuador there is laundry hanging up.

Mom with the Otavalan girl who is a member of the church. Notice the beautiful blouse and the gold necklace, this is traditional dress and very beautiful.

Dad with some young Otavalan girls, one is a member of the church, thay sang to us in Quichua. They are beautiful people and the members feel very strongly they are descentants of Book of Mormon peoples.

On our way home from Esmeraldas we stopped for a few minutes and I was able to get a few shots of these beautiful waterfalls. I think the garden of Eden might have been a bit like Ecuador.

I just happened to catch this Inca face carved in the mountain, I need to find out more information on it and hopefully we can pass this way again and get a better picture of it.

As we were traveling back home from Esmeraldas this young mother and her children sat by Dad. Dad put out his arms and the little boy came right to him and sat on his lap, must be the grandpa appeal. Dad bought some crackers from a vender, the little boy ate them all and shortly both of them were asleep.

Parque de Condor

Several pictures of the Andean Condor. They are very endangered as there are only 90 left in the world. The male has a crest on his front, and their wing span is about 6 feet. They are not really a bird of prey as they eat things that are already dead rather than kill their food themselves. So yes you are right they are a vulture.

Us at the park, Volcano Imbabura, known as Papa Imbabura in the background.

An American Eagle, he was beautiful, made me homesick.

Birds in flight.

Compare the size of these birds.

Águila Pechinegra (black-breasted eagle) she is actually a type of gavilán(hawk), not really and eagle. This is Reina and she once flew away for 4 days but returned to the park. This is their home now and their territory.

A añcón (falcon), they fly very fast, up to 250 km per hour.

Gavilán a la Castaña - the chestnut hawk

Saturday April 23, 2011
Sister Dresen will be leaving in a week and she had wanted to make one more trip to Otavalo. So we got the van and a driver and headed out early this morning. We stopped at Mira Lejo to purchase some special scarves that a weaver here hand makes. Then we went to the Parque de Condor. It was an interesting ride to the park, very steep, dirt roads which had large gullies because of the rain we have had. When we arrived it was a beautiful park, right on the edge of the mountain. They rescue birds and care for them. Many of the birds die because they are brought in when they are so close to death there is nothing that can be done. The founders of the park are trying to teach the people not to kill these birds of prey as they rid the fields of mice and other pests. The people fear the large birds will attack their animals. It seems that the old ways of honoring even worshiping these birds has changed to a fear of them. A sad result of this is many of these birds are endangered. There are only 90 Condors left in the world 70 of them are in Ecuador, many live in this area high on the volcanoes. Some of the condors living in the wild come to the park to visit the condors that live here. Don´t they look like the vultures in some of the old cartoons?

Santo Domingo - Esmeraldas

A statue in Esmeraldas, which kind of tells you about the area. The story goes that a slave ship wrecked off the coast and the slaves made this their home. There are many people of African descent here, the area kind of reminds you of Africa.

Having dinner with the sister missionaries Sister Rogers, Sister Flores and Sister Jaramillo at our hotel, the Perele Verde.

Sister Rogers, our mission nurse, enjoying the sun. I have been her companion as we have traveled to the special trainings.

Our whole group is riding on one motorcycle.

Beautiful beaches, next time I hope to be in P-day cloths and enjoy a walk on the beach.

The girls on the beach.

This is the way to enjoy the beach.

Being in church cloths is not the best way to enjoy the beach, but at least we got to see it.

April 19-20, 2011
Our next to the last special training/health fair was in Santo Domingo then up to Esmeraldas. We have been to Santo Domingo before, and will be doing an NRT in August there, but this was our first time in Esmeraldas. It is on the coast and there are beautiful beaches. The area is very poor and we would love to do a humanitarian project here. We had the chance to go to the beach briefly with Sister Sloan and her daughters. She is great to shop with, she can really bargain.