Hi everyone, Well, we got back on Friday and I've been away without much internet until just now, so I wanted to do an update as soon as I could...
There's so much to tell, and as I'm preparing for my own flight to return to Boston, I'll just give a brief summary and a few odd photos (the best are yet to come). Later on, hopefully in a week, I'll have a fuller summary like the last time.
Thanks to your donations, the people in two of the poorest communities in San Isidro received a whole variety of supplies that will make a big difference in their lives and help them to move forward from the earthquake disaster. We had $1,064 from several donors leftover from the first trip, including almost $1,000 from St Monica and St Lucy in Methuen, MA. I added that to the $6,000 that Fr Dario Acevedo brought from the parish of St Mary of the Assumption in Milford, MA - so that, in all, we were able to buy just what the sisters on site asked for:
* over a half a ton of food, including rice, sugar, pasta, lentils, and cooking oil, divided into 100 bags. * 11 tabletop cooking ranges * 25 mattresses, including 13 high-quality ones for the long term, plus sheets and pillow covers * over 50 mosquito nets for beds * 225 lbs of tarp plastic * 57 cans and boxes of baby milk * 600 diapers and 100 adult diapers * 42 pairs of farm boots * 100 hygiene kits including a month's supply of soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, feminine pads, and insect repellant
In collaboration with the Franciscan Missionaries of St Joseph who have an over 20-year-long presence in Quito, we have contacts in Quito that allow us to get the best prices for goods in quantity - and get more for the people in need for the money that you give. We are all - receivers and donors - indebted to the sisters!
I started buying on Saturday, and after Fr Dario arrived on Monday, we were able to get everything bought by Wednesday mid-day. The local seniors' group partitioned all the food and the hyigiene kits, amazing generosity. We left Quito at 2:30pm and arrived in San Isidro at midnight. The next day we spent with the sisters visiting two communities and giving out what we had and meeting with the local people. We were not able to hand out everything, and the sisters and local volunteers will have finished in the following days. (Sr Teresita has been there for nine years - she was incredibly organized, and it was clear that the goods reached the people who were most in need.) We left the next morning early and got back to Quito in the afternoon.
The people are very grateful, and what they have received is something that fills an urgent need. I know for a fact that there are people who are now sleeping on a mattress for the first time in their lives. And yet it's just a grain of sand amidst all the needs! Fr Dario and his parish are considering a follow-on project in collaboration between the two parishes.
OK, that's it for now, I've left out a lot of the good parts! I will put together another summary to help you as best I can to enter the experience itself and meet the people you've helped, at least virtually! Thank you again for donating, I always hope that people recognize that their donation is a personal act, and not only that, but really a finger on the hand of God.