24 September 2012

Mission Trip: La Casa De Fe Shell, Ecuador

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 1:27

Today's post is a little different than most of my post, but something I want to share with you guys.  In July I took a trip to Shell, Ecuador to volunteer at La Casa De Fe.  My friend from high school, Ali, has been a teacher there for two years and now just goes back for the summers to help out.  I've been wanting to go visit her since the day she started teaching there and this year it finally happened thanks to a special blessing from God.  The plan was for me to take photos for their marketing stuff and to teach a photography camp while I was there.  Everyday I was at the orphanage with the kids was such a blessing... so much so that I didn't really want to come home.  I miss them dearly and can't wait to go back!  I'm going to share some of my images I took on the trip and write a little bit about what's in the picture.   

This is Casa De Fe - right at the base of the Amazon Jungle in Shell, Ecuador.
Summertime has structured activities for the children because they don't have school during the
 summer, so these are a few of my favorites having a good time.
The older girls have their own activities, that the SUPER creative volunteers come up with and this is the girls making their own sandals!  
It was so much fun.
The next few pictures are one of the days we did the photography camp.  I taught the children (along
 with Ali's translation help) about angles, lighting, framing, perspective, etc.  It was a blast.  
Look at those kitties and that smile :D That's Greis on the right, she was one of my very favorites (I could cry just typing that).
The older girls liked the photography camp too!  I loved seeing how camera shy they were, yet how beautiful that are.
One day for activity we went to the city park and played and the kids had a blast.
This is the street view just down from the house I stayed at in Shell.  Ali was SUPER excited because you could see the volcanoes
 in the background -- I can't remember the name of this specific one.
We took a trip to Banos for the weekend and shopped at the markets, went to see Ali's friend in a weight lifting competition 
and did some site seeing.  Everything in Ecuador is so beautiful.. it's mountains, valleys, and rivers everywhere.  Just absolutely breathtaking.

Ok, so that sauce on the left is Ecuador's 'salsa' called Ahi, made with an ahi pepper.  It was served with every meal, including breakfast,
and was SO delicious.  It has a tangy flavor, not too spicy, but really good.
If you look closely you can see Casa De Fe in the upper right-hand corner.  This is the hill that we walked at least FOUR
times a day - once in the mornings, twice for lunch, and once on the way home.  We walked everywhere and it was awesome! 
This is Ali and her boyfriend Betto on this amazing bridge in Shell that goes over the river.  And just for the record,
this bridge shakes, and these two teenage boys ran across it as we were walking and it was SCARY!!!  The boys thought it was hilarious! :)
My experience in Ecuador was absolutely amazing and I CANNOT wait to go back.  I loved the way the people cared about true interaction with each other and that things weren't so busy.  Greetings were so important - whether you were walking down the street, into a restaurant, or into your friends house - you greeted each and every person present.  Being there was such a gift from God, I have such a heart for orphans and know there will be another trip in the future!  Please be praying for La Casa De Fe and all of their children.  God bless.


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