Elections, Ecuador Style!

Ecuador only allows political parties to announce their candidate for Pres and VP six weeks prior to the Election date.  No long campaigns here...

 

The party of the current President, Rafael Correa, selected the former Vice President, Lenin Moreno,  who served a term, and then went off to be an ambassador to the United Nations, representing handicap affairs.

 

Lenin Moreno is confined to a wheelchair after being shot twenty years ago...no mocking of disabled folks here!

 

The convention to select a candidate lasted only one day! The rules say that you may only start campaigning 6 weeks prior to the Election date, flags and banners cannot be purchased, they must be given to you, all campaigning ceases three days prior to the election, also the sale of alcohol is prohibited in this prior three day period.  No more poll results 10 days prior...

 

The voting for a large section of our Coast happens to be here in Manglaralto.  Voting in mandatory...no voter suppression here...

 

The entire family joins in the celebration with vendors setting up everything from clothes, CD's, food, and drinks.  Take a look...

 

 

 

 

There is a high representation of police and army personnnel, for one reason only, no voter intimadation--no undue influence!  Period!

 

We looked up our registration on the computer, so we knew when we arrived today, that I was going to station 15, and Roxanne was off to station 9.  The sexes are separated, so again there is no undue influence, even between spouses!

 

Here's Rox standing in the Ladies line...she only had to wait 4 minutes!

Here she showing off her spiffy new voter card!

 

She had four nice ladies waiting inside to check her ID, and then give her four paper ballots, all with the candidate's photos!  Ecuador went back to paper ballots, a change from four years ago, to allow precise auditing, and to prevent hacking.

 

 

Here is the all in one voting booth made from cardboard!  It looks primitive, but it allows privacy to fill out the ballot in the rear, and total view of your folded ballot in the front.

 

Here I am posing with our guard for our polling room.  My guess is that the bullets for that rifle are miles away in an armory someplace...

 

And a photo of the three nice guys who showed me how everything works...

 

In addition to police and army personnel, Ecuador has 60 international observers stationed around the country...

In the congress, women make up about 40 percent of the total, a huge increase from the 7 percent, 10 years ago...

After voting, we shook hands with all the staff, took photos, and felt really good about voting here in Ecuador.

The results will be in about 8:00 pm this evening, however, it is almost certain that there will be a runoff election on April 2.

 


Posted on Sun, February 19, 2017 at 02:39PM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments1 Comment

Happy Kids and Moms make our day perfect!

On Dec 21st, we held our 9th annual Kid's Christmas Party, for 360 kids and about 250 moms.  We served 600 hot dogs with potato chips and Cola, in just over 2 hours.  The kids were thrilled to visit Papa Noel, and receive a doll or car or truck, with a full baggie of animal crackers and Christmas Candy.

I took 400 photos of the children receiving their gift bag from Papa Noel, and had them developed into a 5" by 7" matte finish photograph.  These hard copy photos are often the only photo of a child that each family receives during the whole year.

It takes Roxanne about 4 months of planning to make the party look easy and come off without a hitch...

Rox and I,  and our Ace Photog Janet,  took many more photos of the fun times.  The following pics will give you a feeling for all the fun we all had...

Here are Tim and Janet helping us fill 500 baggies with animal crackers and Christmas candy.  It's fun, 'cause you get to eat a lot of broken ones...

This is a shot of just some of the baggies...

Here's Roxanne posing with a bunch of the gift bags that she will passing on to Papa Noel...

Lots of fun just setting up the party...

These 600 hot dogs all come with plastic wrappers.  The ladies boil them lightly to peel each one free...

A shot of the rows of seats and tables before we open the doors...

Here's the crowd that fills the seats, and more!!!

Here we are taking shots and planning next group of gifts...

Again this year, Alfredo, Agripina's son, was the perfect Papa Noel...

Janet took some shots of the kids enjoying their new toys and dolls...take a look...

Bill and Pedro were a great team...

Waiting somewhat patiently for their turn with Papa Noel...

One or two of the 600 hot dogs we served up...

Jean, our guest from Canada, put in a hard day's work delivering hot dogs...

Gringo helpers,  who worked tirelessly...from left, Shawn, Bill, Roxanne, Coquita, Bob, Tim and Janet...

Plenty of smiles from Pedro today...

If you were wearing a "Santa Hat" today, you were working hard to keep up...

Everyone worked hard to ensure that the party came off without a hitch, and it exceeded our expectations!!!

This party could not happen without the generous support of our family and friends, so to all of you, we say..."Take a bow!"

Posted on Mon, December 26, 2016 at 01:45PM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments2 Comments

Making a List and checking it Twice!!!

We're counting down the days "till our 9th big Christmas Party for 350 kids and 250 moms.

Take a look at Rox's revised list of things that need doing!and more...This doesn't count hours and hours Roxanne spends going over prior lists on paper,  and in her head,  in the middle of the night...

We had purchased 90 police cars, and with all the running around between various stalls for other kid's gifts, we failed to notice that they each required three AAA batteries to run!  Here in Ecuador, 270 batteries cost a fortune!  Fortunately, our friend and neighbor, Candace was kind enough to buy them in the US, and convinced her friend Freda to haul them down here for us.  Their timely support and hard work saved the day!

Here we are installing batteries in all the cars...We had some thoughts about what would happen if the sirens on several of these cars decided to go off while they were back in their boxes...so far so good...

Our next big job was filling 500 baggies with animal crackers and Christmas Candy...Our friends Tim and Janet provided much needed help with this project...

 

Just some of the seven boxes we stored them in...

Yesterday we picked up 600 wieners.  Yes!  This bag needed a special porter to hoof the 100 pound bag out to the car!

We have been buying the weiners from this stall for about 8 years.  The young lady who does all the figuring, was just a little girl when we started...

We also ordered 600 buns to be picked up in a couple of days...here are a couple of photos from previous years...

Here's some of the ladies putting all those "dogs" together...chips and Coke follow...

So...now we are down to the last couple of days before the big event, and we want to say again, how much we appreciate the support of our family and friends, who are enabling us to make this great party happen!

We could still use a little help, so if you would like to contribute a little happiness to some deserving kids this year, just send along what you wish to our PayPal account, which is bobnrox@gmail.com

Remember...100% of your contribution goes directly to the Kids!

Here are a couple of last year's group shots...

Posted on Sat, December 17, 2016 at 01:42PM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment

The Kid's Christmas Party is coming, and the Elves are hard at work!

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:

bobnrox@gmail.com

Also, we can not stress enough...ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF YOUR DONATION GOES DIRECTLY TO THE KIDS!

Thanks again to all of you!


 


Posted on Fri, October 21, 2016 at 01:21PM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment

Inovative Medical Care at the Coast...

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.

 

 

Posted on Sun, October 2, 2016 at 11:06AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment
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