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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sharing Cuenca with Granddaughters

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I have been back in Cuenca now for about two weeks. On our way back to Ecuador we went to Minnesota to get our oldest granddaughters, Portia and Paris, and bring them back with us for a visit. For the last two weeks we have been enjoying having them with us and showing them Ecuador.

We spent a couple of days in Quito on our way to Cuenca. While in Quito we took the girls to the equator.

While there, Chuck tried his hand at using a blow gun.
We took them to see children performing Ecuadorian folk dances.

While here in Cuenca, we did the normal tourist activities, and in addition, we helped the girls have a very unique experience. Back home in Minnesota, Portia, Paris and their family help support a girl that lives here in Cuenca through the Compassion program. When they learned they were coming down to visit, their mom, Merri, arranged through Compassion to have Portia and Paris meet Jhenny, the girl they help support.

This was a wonderful, heart warming experience for all concerned. We took the girls to meet Jhenny and we were able to visit her school and to visit her home and meet her family. Jhenny is fourteen and is the oldest of three children. She is a warm and charming young lady.

This is a picture of the girls and Jhenny taken at her school.

Here is a picture of Chuck, Nancy, Portia, Paris and Jhenny and her family, taken inside Jhenny's home. Jhenny's parents moved to Cuenca from up north in order to have a better life. They had been farmers, but they couldn't make a living doing that. Now, when it is possible, Jhenny's dad works construction and her mom sells produce at the market. If all goes well for them (father working and mother selling all her produce) they can earn $200 per month. Of course, this is when times are good, most of the time they fall short of that much money. They all sleep, eat and cook in one room that only has power at night. The landlord turns off the electricity during the day to save money. They pay $75 per month rent.

Yes, Jhenny and her family are part of the "black hat people." Chuck and I found, as we have in all our world travels, that they are just like us. They want the very best for Jhenny and her siblings. They are loving parents and work hard to provide the best they can for their family.

To have the opportunity to meet and talk with this beautiful family would not have been possible without our granddaughters visit. Hugs were passed all around during the day and we came home feeling so fortunate that we were able to get to visit with them.

The next day we went to the market hoping to find Jhenny's mom. Among the thousands of people selling there we found her with ease. We now have our personal "green grocer." We will always seek her out for buying the vegetables she sells. Here is a picture of Portia and Paris with Jhenny's mom at the market.

At this moment, Chuck is back in the USA. He accompanied the girls home and will return to Ecuador tomorrow.


Nancy and Chuck

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