One thing I didn’t clue into when I headed off to China, was that I would have absolutely no access to social media while I was there. Well, that’s not quite true – I could see me email notifications when someone posted to facebook or commented on our blog. But I couldn’t access facebook, wordpress or any of the other social media sites – which also meant I couldn’t post the emails that Kevin was sending to me from Ecuador. Now that I’m back . . . and somewhat over jet lag . . . let me try to post some delayed updates on Kevin’s trip (I’ll try to put the right dates on them, so you’ll find them below). And then I’ll let you know how my trip went . . .
Today is our last day in Ecuador. We are now waiting for the van to take us to the airport. We spent the day walking in the old townsite of Quito with all the really old buildings, old churches and many tourists. When it started raining we ducked into a museum and then a coffee shop.
Our flight home starts at midnight and we land in Calgary at noon so I will be very tired, I’m sure. I probably won’t sleep much on the flight.
Our final presentation went very well and then we had another day of work on Friday. We watched a soccer game on TV which was Ecuador versus Uruguay. The room was full of Ecuador fans and it was a crazy excited room. Ecuador won 3 to 1.
We spent a few hours at an orphanage yesterday. We played soccer, threw kids in the air, and then gave them the Bowness soccer jerseys. Before this we had gone on a spending spree for food for the orphanage. They usually get the same meal 3 times per day, so the food that we bought was going to make a big difference for a few meals. We bought fruit, chocolate milk, eggs, and popcorn. When we left they were so wired that we wondered if they would ever calm down so they could sleep. So far it was a highlight of the week for us and definitely also for them.
Kevin has spent the last couple days out at camp – specifically the camp site that he & the team are designing out in Nanegalito. I haven’t heard too much from him since he left, since the camp itself doesn’t have an internet connection. But all seems to be going well, and I’m looking forward to a more detailed update later tonight.
I’m not sure exactly when I’ll see Kevin’s update though, as I’m off on my own adventure today. As some of you know, my Daddy has invited me to join him on a “bucket list” trip to China. (He wanted to go to Asia, and my Mom said “take your daughter, I’d rather watch the grandkids ). I’m excited to be going back to China – it’s been 20 years since I spent the summer there in my university days. It does mean that my family is spending Thanksgiving in 3 different countries (and four cities, as Kaisa is joining Grandma & Grandpa in visiting the cousins).
Please pray for all of us as we’re scattered across the world
Today we drove out to the site after breakfast. We met the site engineer and the contractor. We had a meeting with the ministry representative and with the American construction manager. Now we think we have some direction and we are barrelling ahead. We set up the site office in a big tent with one side open to the view of the mountains. Also, we can see the site where our new gymnasium will go.
The morning was nice and warm and we were actually very warm after carrying our suitcases, food, propane, stoves, and all the food from the bus to the kitchen. Almost right at noon, the clouds rolled in like they do every day. We are in the cloud forest. Meaning the humidity is very high, the clouds are low and it could rain at any time. But we haven’t seen any rain yet. We haven’t hit the rainy season yet, but it could still rain. And now that it’s getting to dinner time, we are starting to look for our long sleeves. At night we need wool blankets. It’s amazing how wide ranging the temperature is.
There are about 10 guys on the site building 2 other buildings. They hope to have these buildings finished by February when the next camping season starts. The construction of our building would begin after this, once the fundraising is done. Apparently, they still need to raise the funds for these buildings we’re designing.
We have a great team. There are only 7 of us so we are all getting to know each other quite well. Marianne brought enough knitting to do to last a week but she is helping out wherever she can. Craig (Eric’s 14 yo son) is helping us with measurements. Jackie, Sheila, and Suellen are sticking close together and are seemingly all getting along nicely. They are all drafting this afternoon. Kelly is providing the architectural leadership and the big picture for this site. Kevin R is providing the structural support and I’m running around doing a little of everything.
Our presentation will be on Thursday evening, so we need to keep this design moving.
So . . . Kevin left yesterday for Ecuador – and they were already on the site today (there are advantages to those trips to Latin America!). Here’s what he has to say:
This morning we drove to the site for the day and got a tour of the existing construction and the whole land. We heard the vision of the ministry for a youth camp of 200 campers. The camp will serve the churches and youth of the large diverse city of Quito. Daniel, the ministry leader, is very excited to see this camp being built and sees the effect it is already having on lives.
The land is very steep and therefore very challenging to build on but they are already holding some camps and making it work. The new buildings will be for more dormitories and to facilitate indoor meetings and activities.
It is a small team but the logistics are still a bit complicated since there is no van to take us around. We need 2 cars to go everywhere. So far the food and accommodations are great. Fast wifi and the showers have a tiny bit of hot water. It’s 5:30 and we are all wearing long sleeves. It’s definitely not as hot as other project trips.
And there are 3 puppies on site! Kaisa would probably melt if she were here.
And, while Dad was walking the site in Ecuador . . . Talia & Kaisa were biking 25 km to raise money for the youth camp design. We had about a dozen eMi riders out at the Calgary location of Ride for Refuge – and they all really stood out in their bright yellow (sorry – gold) shirts!
Across Canada, eMi Canada had almost 60 riders . . . and right now they’re less than $1000 short of their goal which would sponsor both Kevin’s Ecuador project and a school design in Burundi that should be happening sometime next year.
Keep praying for Kevin & his team as they tackle the design challenges of a very steep site in Ecuador. I’ll keep you posted as I get Kevin’s emails.
We’re quickly heading towards the end of September, and I’m wondering where the month went . . . September is always busy, but this year has seemed especially so.
First – THANK YOU FOR PRAYING – Kevin’s team to Ecuador is now full. Both a structural engineer and an additional architect have joined the team, and Kevin is preparing to head out in less than two weeks.
On the home front . . .
Kaisa is in her last year of the German program this year. Besides school, she’s continuing her guitar lessons, and enthusiastically enjoying activities like scrapbooking and a sports sampler at a local kids club. She volunteers in the church nursery, and she has a “job” walking the neighbour dogs. Oh – and she was given a hamster for her birthday, so that’s keeping her busy too. She’s also decided to become a team captain for Ride for Refuge to get other kids excited about riding for eMi.
Talia has just started junior high – in French. I’m amazed at how much she’s learned already in the late French immersion program, especially because coming from the German program she had no French at the elementary level. Lots of homework though! Junior high also means Youth Group for Talia, as well as more extra-curricular activities (she’s on the cross-country team right now). Talia also continues to volunteer in the church library and swim for the Junior Lifesaving Club, and she’s starting to babysit more regularly (and yes, she’s also riding for Ride for Refuge).
Kevin is preparing for his fall project trip, and he’s working hard at acquiring some Spanish. We’re thankful for a library that has lots of self study materials! Kevin’s still running regularly, but taking it easy (& trying out a bit of barefoot running) to ensure that he doesn’t aggravate a sore knee. He’s participating in some of the men’s activities in church, and our family is still part of a terrific Care Group.
I’ve adjusted my EMI work schedule around two kids in two different schools with two different schedules. I’ve also increased my involvement with Cooperative ESL Ministries – in addition to facilitating some intercultural training with them, I’m now also doing a bit of their communications. Aside from work, I’m still coordinating English Corner, teaching Sunday School, and will again be volunteering at Kaisa’s school. I’m also brushing up on my 20 words of Mandarin – my Dad has asked me to accompany him on a tour of China! I’m excited to be going back, and the kids are excited to have Oma (my mom) staying with them for the duration.
Whew – and I wonder why life feels busy. We actually did very little this past weekend, and that was just what we needed. Like most families, we struggle with keeping a balance between all the great things that we can be involved in, and not over-scheduling our lives. Pray with us that we would be wise in deciding what to be involved in, that we would be salt & light as we go about our daily activities – and that we would accept the rest that Christ offers us, even in the midst of busy-ness.