We were really discouraged as we planned to purchase trucks and dolls for the kids, and found that the department stores had discontinued selling anything but genuine "Barbie" dolls at a cost five times what we had been paying. Also, the price of trucks and cars for the boys easily tripled! We knew that the Kid's Party was doomed at these prices!
We asked our friend and great taxi driver, Jorge, if he had any suggestions, and he suggested the "People's Market in Guayaquil. We made a "recon" 3 hour trip two weeks ago, to see if we could find affordable prices for the Kids. We were happy to discover that if bought large quantities of dolls and trucks and cars, and purchased them in October (not closer to Christmas), that we could get the costs down quite a bit. That day we purchased 20 trucks and 50 dolls and a bunch of baby toys.
We ordered 150 more dolls and and 150 more trucks and cars for pick up this week. Jorge insisted that he return with us to act as security. This was important as all of these purchase were cash only.
Here we are in the thick of the many, many stalls...
It's impossible to show all the dolls and trucks that we bought, but here are Jorge and our friendly "porter" taking all these cases to the car for us...
Here's a shot of Roxanne with just a small sample of the presents...
A closer look at the toys...
We purchased 150 dolls, 150 trucks and cars, and 50 baby dolls that day, and in the confusion to giddy up, we neglected to notice that the 90 police cars did not come with batteries! You can imagine what 270 AA batteries cost down here! We were very thrilled when our neighbor volunteered to purchase 300 batteries in the US and have her friend bring them down next month! Whew! Those batteries cost 5 times as much down here.
Just to get you in the mood, here are some shots of last year's party...
Here's Roxanne making the 350 gifts stay "organized"
The ladies work for hours cooking hot dogs, and then assembling 600 hot dogs and patato chips, plus all the Coca Cola for everyone.
This photo says it all!!!!
This will be our ninth year putting on this happy fiesta for 350 kids and 250 moms...and again, we can't begin to do all this without your generous support.
We still have hot dogs, wieners, buns, patato chips, Cokes, plates and glasses animal crackers, Christmas Candy, gift bags, baggies, and decorations to pay for yet, so, again this year we are asking you to send your donation to these deserving kits to our PayPal account which is:
Also, we can not stress enough...ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF YOUR DONATION GOES DIRECTLY TO THE KIDS!
Thanks again to all of you!
Rox and I were enjoying Sunday Brunch last week, when she thought she had sipped a piece of ice along with her Coke. Since it wiggled, she immediately spit it out in her hand, and the honeybee immediately bit her on the tip of her ring finger.
The stinger was protruding from her skin, so we both worked together to pull it out. We didn’t think to remove her wedding ring, and before we knew it, her finger had swelled to twice its normal size. Now, we tried to remove the rings, but oil and the reverse sting method were no match for the sausage-like swelling!
The finger began to turn bright red with blackish splotches, so we called our physician friend Tim to ask him to take a look.
It was a bad enough that we decided to walk across the street to the emergency room. They surgeon on duty said immediately that the ring had to come off. This type of swelling can lead to major complications.
They gave Rox two injections, an antibiotic and a swelling reducer. The swelling was now so severe that the ring was hiding in the puffiness.
They wrapped Roxanne’s other fingers and hand with adhesive tape, and then brought out a hacksaw, which did absolutely no good. Some emergency rooms have what is known as a ring cutter--but not here...
An EMT man in the room suggested that his friend, who used Dremel tools to fashion figurines, might have the right bit to saw or grind the ring off. No one else had a better idea, and time was definitely critical, so off we went in the car for about three miles on paved road and three more on dirt roads, back into the hills. 30 minutes driving time...
We came to a village, and stopped in front of a little hut/workshop. David, the sculptor, came out and was shocked to see the size and appearance of the finger. He became more worried when his friend asked him to use his tools to cut off Rox’s ring. Here is the home/workshop...
He had to borrow the correct bit from a fellow craftsman. This was the grinding disk that fits the Dremel tool. We needed light and a place for Rox to sit, as the guys did the cutting, so we lifted the back lid of the SUV and Rox sat inside with her hand out. Every touch to her swollen finger was terrible, so you can imagine how it felt to have the EMT guy hold her finger, while David the craftsman tried to grind the ring apart.
The ring got hot really fast, so they continually dribbled water on the cut, from a dish. Also, her ring actually had three bands, so the work was compounded. In addition, they were stymied about making the final cut, until the EMT guy found a popsicle stick lying in the road. They sharpened the end and slid it under to raise the ring away from her skin.
It took 40 minutes to finally cut thru the bands, all the time trying not to cut or burn Rox’s skin. Now, to get the ring off, each guy had to take a pair of needle nosed pliers and one side of a band and pull outward. They told her that this would hurt a lot worse than the cutting, but she would just have to bear it.
After a couple of false starts, they were finally able to pull all six side straight out and away from the finger. The finger was so swollen that they had to “walk” it off. Rox was really brave here.
We all cheered. Everyone hugged everyone else, including a generous tip for the two tired and sweating “cutters”. We figured that if we hadn’t been able to get the ring off this soon, that Rox could have been in danger of losing her finger.
We returned to the hospital, where the surgeon prescribed more antibiotics and pain pills. Finally, after a couple of days the swelling went down.. It was a great relief, as the surgeon and our friend Tim, were both concerned that the blood vessels could have been damaged permanently.
We were a little busy, so we never took photos of the above drama...however, here is a shot of Rox's finger TWO DAYS AFTER THE RING WAS REMOVED!
This is a shot of the ring. You can imagine how painful it was having this worked on next to a painful, swollen finger.
All the medical treatment was free. Roxanne waited until the finger looked better, and we trooped into the emergency room staff meeting with sacks of special pastries and were greeted with applause and cheers.
For David, we traveled back to his primitive workshop, and presented him with a new Dremel set, complete with a bunch of new bits. The smile on his face lit up the room.
The family was beaming, too...
As is the custom, he then presented Roxanne with some of his carvings made from the famous Tagua nut.
This is David and Rox re-enacting the ring removal scene...
Our friend Tim was invaluable with his advice, support, and concern.
The staff in the emergency room across the street was terrific, and the EMT guy deserves a special thank you for his quick thinking and hard work.
Agripina and Isidro's grandkids, from two different families, had a nice early Christmas, due to the generosity of our Indiana visitors, Shawn and Bill. These nice folks brought down a suitcase of school supplies for the kids, plus fun tee shirts...Here are a couple of photos in more detail...the big event is at the end of this post!
What Little girl would not love sparkly nail polish...
...or a fancy tee shirt! ...or a tiara and new cute necklace!
These happy kids are members of families where the breadwinner does not work very often...not because he or she doesn't want to, but because work has dried up.
So when Bill and Shawn asked what they could bring down, we never expected to see such a plethora of school supplies, necklaces, tiaras, crayons, and coloring books and colored pencils. The tee shirts were fabulous...what young man doesn't need a "Superman" tee???
They also asked "what else can we bring down", and when we suggested a used laptop computer, they went to work to see if a friend had one not being used. Shawn had a former student, Aaron, who is now a grown up young man, and he is a computer whiz. He had souped up a Windows 7 laptop and donated it to the cause. There is not one chance in a million that these girls would have ever had a computer of their own, so this new machine will enable them to keep up with their more well to do classmates, plus give them skills good for a lifetime!
Here you see Alex, who received a computer a couple of years ago, getting the girls set up with Google Chrome and an email account--How great is that!
Of course, when they saw that they could watch the "Littlest Mermaid" also...it was a double treat!
Here's Shawn enjoying the good feelings all around...
Later, we found out from Agripina that the oldest daughter, Yelena had been begging her mom for a computer and praying every night, also. Well, those prayers were answered in the guise of Bill and Shawn and Aaron from Underwood, Indiana!
Agripina still says that it is a miracle.
The vagaries of Mother Nature let our area of the Ecuador Coast be completely unaffected by the terrible earthquake up North. The area from Salinas to Puerto Cuyo about 1.5 hour drive north of us had no damage. None of the homes, mostly mortar block construction, suffered any damage. We believe we were spared more devastation because the fault line does not head straight south to us, but veers east toward Guayaquil. It leaves us shaking, but with nothing but a few overturned figurines...
So...Life goes on...sunsets and dolphins keep on happening...
Birthdays, too! Agripina celebrted her 65th birthday...
Roxanne celebrated her birthday with Rich and Nancy from Cuenca...We had a great time and celebrated a belated birthday for Nancy, also...
When we arrived home from Cuenca, Rox was greeted with another beautiful cake and a rousing "Happy Birthday" song from our Ecuadorean family.
As we celebrate how fortunate we are to live in our area of the Coast, we hope that the people in the North continue to get the help they desperately need!
This is a group from here that coordinates with good folks in Cuenca. They pay their own way, so your money goes directly to help the victims. http://www.carvemag.com/2016/04/aid/#.Vyof6vmDGko