Putting on a party for over 600 takes a lot of planning, but most parties don't have these "behind the scenes" shots. This morning, we looked out our window to see Papa Noel's mom rewashing his Christmas Party uniform, and also the short skirts for his "elves".
Here is Agripina holding up one of her daughter's "Elf" skirt.
The Party is a high point in each child's year, and this year, it's more important than ever! The "El Nino" scare and the severe drought have caused a drop in tourism and construction. Many of the kids fathers have not had steady work in months...so Chirstmas will be a little tight this year.
The drought can best be shown by the measures that have been adopted when our local water company ran out of water. Without cisterns, the locals must rely on a frequent delivery of water, by truck, to any bucket, pail, or washtub that they own.
Here is an example of a couple of households waiting for the water truck.
Without steady work in each household, it is difficult to pay much more for water than charged by the water company. We know that our party gives a big lift to these households.
As the big day approahes, The "to do" list seems to get bigger and bigger. We have been buying dolls for the girls and trucks and cars for the boys, and stuffed toys for the babies We bought candy and animal crackers, 600 plates, glasses, and napkins, lots of mayo, catsup, and mustard, and lots and lots of cola. Here's a shot of the the ladies making them last year...
This week, we are ordering 625 weiners for pick up in three weeks, 625 bags of potato chips, and 625 buns. We also order stools and tables for everyone.
Then we have to put the whole shebang together! As usual we could not do this without the supoort of our generous readers, relatives, and friends.
Here's a shot of last year's party, just to get you in the mood...To see the entry for last year's party, just copy and paste...
If you would like to give us a hand in making these kids a little happier this year, please send a donation to our PayPal address, which is firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note...every red cent that you contribute goes directly to the kids
Bob & Roxanne and the Kids
We returned from our weekly shopping trip to Salinas, and were greeted by Agripina and Isidro, saying that we made all the news feeds. They said that we were on all the TV news stations, and in all the papers that they could see...Yikes!
We thought that we were fairly unobrusive as we watched the protest, however, we must have made good copy as the only Gringos who stuck around for the whole shebang.
This front page photo proclaims that "the areas in the North are dying of thirst!"
Same photo on the inside front page with more story...
Just in case you can't recognize the only Gringos in the shot...here we are...
There was a steady stream of water trucks heading north on Ruta Del Sol today. And...yesterday...two trucks loaded with "hospital equipment" (in English), arrived for our beleaguered hospital..
So...who's to say, that a small non-violent protest does no good???
Most of the Coastal towns, here in Southern Ecuador, have been without water for several days--some for several weeks. Local water companies have struggled to provide water for part of each day, as they cope with drought conditions and lowering of the water table.
We are OK, as we have a 6000 gallon holding tank, which adds water when the company is putting water in the pipes. We can also purchase 5000 gallons of water for $80, if necessary.
People on the Coast have been frustrated by the slow reaction to this problem, by the Federal Government in Quito.
To bring attention to our fogotton Coast, a decision was made to block the Ruta Del Sol, (the Pacific Coast Highway of Ecuador). The Protest began yesterday at 6:30 am, by blocking the North-South road at a choke point right down the road from our house.
This protest was not only about the water shortage. Our hospital here in Manglaralto is the only one for about 50 km in either direction. This hospital serves the incredible amount of tourists generated by Montanita, the surf town right north of us. The hospital badly needs to be remodeled or rebuilt, it needs more supplies, and it needs an immediate increase of staff, especially more doctors. They have been told, however, that their budget will be reduced by Quito.
We walked over to the protest at 7:30 to see a large group of protesters had already stopped all traffic on the North-South road.
An interesting side note: The crowd was good natured, and the police were non-threatening...The crowd sang the National Anthem, and even the police joined in the singing. In addition, the crowd chanted "We need Water" and "The Family can't afford to buy water", etc. The varous speakers had several good natured jokes. The police pretty much let the course of events unfold--no rubber bullets, dogs, or shoving, etc.
Here's a photo of Fernando, who helps us with maintenance, standing on the truck taking more photos...
The main drummer and spokesman for the crowd, was as good natured as the crowd.
The police looked intimadating at times, but mostly spent their time chatting.
We had a mini sit in after about three hours. The police had tried to move the crowd, but a bunch of folks just sat down. It was obvious that the police were intent on having this protest remain peaceful, so they discontinued their efforts.
Several folks handed out bananas, pieces of watermelon and slices of oranges to the crowd.
After everyone had eaten, the men went around and policed up the rinds...
After the road had been closed for 6.5 hours, the police and government officials were able to negotiate a settlement, and the road was opened to traffic at 1:30 in the afternoon.
There was no violence, ever! In fact, as the police were packing up, Roxanne saw the Captain patting one of the Sergeants on the back and smiling broadly. He had done his job right!
Now, we hope that the newspaper and TV coverage, and the messages sent back to Quito will result in some improvement in our water delivery systems, and especially in our only hospital in many miles...
As the date for the Kid's Christmas Party nears, we find we are filling the car more often on our weekly shopping trips. Yesterday, we bought candy from one of the more traditional vendors in downtown La Libertad.
This store is absolutely packed with all kinds of candy and crackers...all the street vendors purchase their wares here.
You can see in the photo below, that the choices are mind boggling...We have been coming here for more than six years, filling out the purchases that we don't get in Cuenca.
Mi Comisariato supermarket in La Libertad had a sale on "Big Cola", So Roxanne purchased 137 liters. She also purchased 500 baggies for the kid's candy, 600 plates, 600 drink glasses. That funny looking white bag in the bottom of one cart is 500 dinner plates, right out of the back room...
By the time we got all of these party items bagged up, we needed four carts and two more bag boys to help us get it all out to the car...
Rox took this shot just as I was beginning to offload all the goodies onto the counter.
This year the party is even more important. As our tourist trade has slowed down, many of the kid's fathers have been out of work for months. For many of the kids, the presents and Christmas goodies they get at our Party, will be all they receive for Christmas, except for maybe a little fruit or a candy bar.
So...again, we are asking the loyal readers of our blog to pitch in and help us keep the smiles on the Kid's faces.
If you would like to help, please send your donation to our PayPal address, which is: email@example.com
Note: One Hundred Percent of every donation goes directly to the Kids!
Thanks to all of you for your support in past years, and for your help this year!
Bob & Roxanne and all the Kids...
We're already getting ready for our 8th Annual Kid's Christmas Party! Little by little, we have been buying affordable trucks and dolls--anywhere we could find them, all year long.
We've just returned from our annual trip to Cuenca, buying more toys and dolls, 88 pounds of animal crackers and about 80 pounds of Christmas candy, and a bunch more decorations. We wish to extend a special thanks to Rich and Nancy for putting us up, and for being such great hosts, and for being especially playful with Coquita as they performed baby sitting chores...
As most of our regular readers know, each of the 350 kids in our area, receive a doll or truck, a baggie full of animal crackers and Christmas Candy. We also serve them and about 200 moms, hot dogs, a bag of potato chips, and Cokes. They also get a 5 x 7 photo of them recieving their Christmas bundle from Papa Noel. For many of these children, this is their only photo for the whole year.
Here are a couple of shots of us shopping this week...
Here is Alex carrying one of the big bags of Animal Crackers. He has been coming to the party since he was a little boy--this year he is too old, so we will be giving him a Santa Hat, and making him into one of "Santa's Helpers".
To get you in the mood, here are some shots of last year's party...
Here's Papa Noel taking a well deserved break after personally handing out 350 gift bags to happy kids...
As all of our regular readers know, there is no way that we could do this party without the help of relatives, friends, and all of the great readers of this blog. So...if you would like to help this year, please send what you can to our PayPal account, which is firstname.lastname@example.org
Also...every cent donated goes 100 percent to the kids...
Thanks to all of you for you wonderful help on previous parties, and for your support this year,
Bob & Roxanne and all the kids...