A sunny morning began with a tour of the Working Families Center led by Rodolfo, a former shoe-shine boy who now works at the Center.
We toured the carpentry shop where adults manufacture gift boxes and furniture. All elegantly designed and beautifully made.
Next, was the laser engraving area for the gift boxes which are ordered by companies and groups. In the auto shop, a class of students was taking a test as we not-so-quietly passed through their room on our way to a large auto shop where students put their theoretical instruction to practice. Fr Halligan's red Ford truck was among the vehicles used for this purpose. And, then on to the Bodega where the items made in the carpentry and sweing shops are sold.
In the classrooms we observed the nursery and sweet-faced toddlers grouped in circles around their teachers listening to stories. The preschoolers were busy in groups coloring, and one was working with an instructor on word recognition for the name of a fruit that was colorfully displayed. The walls were cheerfully painted, if well worn, reminding me of preschool classrooms at home. It was a joy to interact with the children through smiles, high fives, hugs and fist bumps. (Don't breathe a word of it ... Jill was spotted surreptitiously handing out candy to the older children.) Most kids liked practicing their English words with us.
After touring most of the grade levels we visited the Art Center, the sewing class and the Administration office. (A photo of Sr. Cindy is easily spotted on her photo wall with Lydia Bastinich and a few others at a dinner Lydia hosted for Cindy. Ask any one of us about the funny story that goes with the photo.)
We finished off the morning making Empanadas con Queso for the children's afternoon snack and Mass with all the school children. These last two stops were in the same multi-use kitchen, cafeteria and stage area.
The afternoon prize for "Volunteers Preforming the Most Difficult Job" went to Team Stone, comprised of Helen, Michael, Kristin, Bronwyn, Marcia Green and Ed Lozowicki. They handled the annual washing of 12' high tile walls with good humor, while the rest of us cruised through our duties helping in class rooms and touching up posters.
Interacting with these wonderful kids and their dedicated teachers was a prize beyond description.
Dinner, yoga and reflection rounded out a pretty wonderful day in Quito. God's delight.