ACF – A SURPRISE VISIT VILCABMBA, EC
MAY 20th -22nd , 2018
Craig Keeland, Founder/Director/Trustee
Cristina Alvarez, ACF Ambassador in Ecuador/Interpreter
Enrique Vera (Cristina’s Husband), ACF Associate Partner
ITEMS HANDED OUT TO 13 SCHOOLS IN VILCABAMBA:
All with ACF Logos, website and/or Photos:
|Different color caps|
|Different color waterproof sports backpacks|
|Lined personalized notebooks|
|Squared personalized notebooks|
|World cup soccer balls|
|Personalized chocolates – units|
|Chocolate gift boxes (4 chocolates)|
|Chocolate gift boxes (12 chocolates)|
“Francisco Javier Salazar” (Linderos)
“Cuerpo de Paz” (Santorum)
“Julian de Rua Pizarro” (Yamburara Bajo).
“Manuel Riofrio Mora” (Yamburara Alto)
“Jose Vicente Mendieta” (Mollepamba)
“Piedad Burneo de Ojeda” (Moyococha)
“Antonio Jose Pena Celi” (Vilcabamba-town)
“Pedro Lopez Medrano” (Comunidades)
“Rosa Cevallos de Ludena” (Carango)
“Manuel Riofrio Mora” ( Quinara)
“Gonzalo Abad Grijalva” (Tumianuma)
“9 de Octubre” (San Pedro de Vilcabamba)
“13 de Abril” (Vilcabamba-town)
SUMMARY: 13 schools visited > 772 students
May 20: Enrique and I met Craig at the airport on May 20th at 5:00 am, got our boarding passes and headed to the gate for Loja’s airport.
We arrived to Loja, picked up our luggage, met Polivio and started our drive to Vilcabamba. In 1 hour we got to the hotel in Vilcabamba near the village, checked in and went to the hotel’s restaurant; a new facility built next to the hotel. After a leisurely breakfast, went to see our packages and Enrique checked if everything was ok and complete and we started planning the visits to the schools.
May 21: The next morning before meeting for breakfast, Enrique went to organize all the things that we were going to take to the schools that we were planned to visit.
First school we visited is one of my favorite schools “Francisco Javier Salazar” (Linderos), we were happy to see our friend Victor (teacher) and the 5 children from all ages. It was really nice to see that all the things we have given to these schools were still there and in a very good condition. The children were very excited getting their new things!!
Our next stop was the school “Cuerpo de Paz” (Santorum), a small rural school with 5 children. The children recognized us and were very happy with their things, they all were saying WOW!!! Craig also taught them how to use a Frisbee.
We continued with our mission and stopped in Julian de Rua Pizarro (Yamburara Bajo). When we arrived to the school, the children recognized us and we were really happy to see our friend Carlos (teacher). The number of children had decreased from 16 to 8 (some graduated and some had gone to the schools in town). What we could notice is that there were 2 children with special mental illnesses that needed special care and learning abilities. We made arrangements to provide these children with some future assistance.
After that we visited “Manuel Riofrio Mora” (Yamburara Alto) a small school on a small hill. Our friend Martha (teacher) and her 6 students greeted us and were very happy to see us and one of them told a classmate that we are the people that gave him the t-shirt he was wearing that day!! We felt really happy to see that they can still use the things we gave them almost 18 months ago.
Continuing our journey, we went to the Saraguros School “Jose Vicente Mendieta” (Mollepamba) It’s very nice going to this school because we can see that all the things that the ACF has donated to them are in a very good condition and they are still using them. The ACF has been helping this school since they started with this wonderful mission. We went into the classroom and our friend Leidy (teacher) and her 15 kids recognized us and were happy to see us again. ACF helped build the school house and many of its amenities.
After this wonderful experience we stopped in the school “Piedad Burneo de Ojeda” (Moyococha) Our friend Dora (teacher) stopped the class and greeted us and again, we saw two students wearing the t-shirts. The 6 children were happy to see us.
It was almost time for lunch and we headed to the plaza to visit our last school for the day, actually it was a visit to the smallest children in town in a day care called “Antonio Jose Pena Celi” (Vilcabamba-town). When we got there, the teachers were really happy with our visit and the 85 students received their hats, shirts and other items and were very happy and full of joy!
We went to “La Terraza” restaurant to have lunch, one of our favorite eating places on the square in Vilcabamba, to talk about the morning’s experiences.
May 22: One of Craig’s favorite view is the one that the hotel Schayluma has, he decided to go and have breakfast in that place at 8:00 a.m. started with our second day…
The first school we visited was “Pedro Lopez Medrano” (Comunidades) this is another school that has been in our list for years. A new teacher greeted us and we could see that she has made some improvements to the location and their 7 children were super organized and happy. We were happy to see that white board, desks, computer, and material we have given to this school were in good condition.
Our next school was “Rosa Cevallos de Ludena” located in Carango , a small school with 8 students of all ages. I was glad to see that the roof was fixed with the funds we had donated on our previous trip and that the classroom was in perfect condition.
Our next stop was in the school “Manuel Riofrio Mora” located in Quinara. This elementary school is the biggest in the rural area and has 250 students. We were greeted by our friend Carmen (Principal) and the teachers who immediately helped us line up the children so we can distribute the supplies and things faster.
We continued with our visits to the school “Gonzalo Abad Grijalva” (Tumianuma) They had a new principal and the school had only 10 children, down from 20 during our previous visit.
After this visit, we went to the elementary school “9 de Octubre” (San Pedro). This school was also one of the first schools that the ACF has helped since the project started. They immediately recognized us and as always, they received us with a lot of enthusiasm. At this time the school had around 130 students from pre-k to 7th. Craig gave them a motivating message, the principal thanked ACF for the visit and told the students and some parents that were there that the ACF has been helping the institution for many years.
Our last school was “13 de Abril” located near the town’s main plaza/square. We didn’t go to this school in our last visit because the plan was to make a Christmas visit only to the rural schools that are the ones with less governmental help. This visit we decided to visit this school because it has always been in our list, and ACF donated a computer laboratory, projectors and supplies in our previous visits. On our way out, the parents that were waiting outside for their children cheered and thanked Craig. While they were doing this, a group of small children came running, hugged Craig and gave them a very nice artwork.
This was the best ending for the mission!!
After giving away everything and with the “mission accomplished” feeling we went back to our exclusive restaurant, ate lunch there and packed to go to the airport to take our flight back to Quito.