Both Leo and I have led a very interesting life. We both feel very fortunate for all that we have and for all our experiences in life. Since we were both educators, we have always been able to feel that we are giving back to the community in our own way. Now that we are retired, we want to continue giving in some way that is needed and in a way that meshes with our abilities. We have spent quite a while getting used to the new life, but we are now at a point where we want to volunteer for something that would be beneficial to our new community. It is funny how giving of one’s self is a win-win situation. The more you give to others the better you feel, too. It’s crazy, but that’s how it always winds up for me.
We have been looking around trying to find the right fit. Our relative, Olayita, volunteers at a home that hosts families of cancer patients. The facility is next to the hospital. It is somewhat in concept like the Ronald McDonald Houses in the US. Olayita, knows we are doing crafts, so she said we could do crafts with the families, who spend a long time in this home far from other family members and friends. They have very little to do to occupy their time. The crafts will help the people get their minds off of their situation for a little while and help them cope with a very difficult time for the family.
Today, we went to the home which is called, Albergue Padre Matias Mujica in Portoviejo, Ecuador. Jane, Michael (two expat friends), Leo, and I met with Olayita and the two Presidents of the organization that help keep this home running. They showed us around. They let us know that the government contributes nothing to the home, nor does the cancer hospital. All funds are raised by the volunteers and a group of Catholic pastors. We met many of the patients and their families, but most of the people were at the hospital during the morning getting their treatment. We were impressed with the facility and especially the people who try to keep it running. We all want to begin doing something to help. Not only can we do crafts, but we can help with food, washing and hanging up clothes, making beds, cleaning up. We hope to get our other expat friends involved to help, but of course that depends on their time and inclinations. I had helped with Make A Wish in the States with my friend, Diane, just before I left and found it enjoyable, so I am looking forward to doing this now.