February 26, 2017
An overcast sky afforded us a later rise to our last day. Some headed for the gondola up to one of the high mountain peaks surrounding Quito. Their hope was that the clouds would lift for a glimpse of this massive city of several million. In Nature’s time, the sun shone for a bit on the multitude of compact homes covering the landscape, dwarfing the home covered hills of our own San Francisco. Besides an amazing 13,000 plus foot view of Quito, another gift was a visit to the beautiful Dolores chapel on the mountain. Soon after, the gray sky returned. Another group visited the massive farmer’s market bringing back unique local fruits for us to enjoy. Some visited the ornate San Francisco cathedral for noon mass or visited the WBC store for final purchases and a last visit with the longer stay volunteers.
Afternoon afforded us time to clean our rooms and begin the daunting challenge of finding room in our suitcases for all the unique and lovely purchases carefully chosen for sale at our St. Mary’s Soup supper. Finally, with bulging suitcases and clean rooms, several headed over the cosmetology class where the 14 and 15 year old students cut and curled hair, while other students meticulously painted “Hello Kitty” or other intricate designs on our nails. These students were quite artistically gifted.
Come 6 p.m., we headed over to the Maralinga or light snack of soup and bread before the children and the families headed home. Jill was surprised by this large group singing her “Happy Birthday," her largest party ever! Many of the children came running up to hug her, wishing her Feliz Complianos, and some of the families whose homes we had visited, come up to wish us all a safe trip home, and to again express their gratitude for our visit. We assured them of our continued prayers.
Saying good-bye to our larger faith family was very difficult! Despite their immense material poverty, these families were so humble and caring, hard working and making their family a priority, and rich in God’s love.
Afterward we returned to our dining room for another delicious meal. we enjoyed soup and sandwiches and homemade chocolate chip cookies, saying good-bye to Father Juan, Sister Cindy, and the other volunteers, who were staying on. Madre Miguel was away on retreat.
At 9p.m. with hearts full of love, and minds flooded with treasured memories, Ozwaldo, our bus driver safely brought us through the misty rain to Quito International Airport as we began our journey to destinations in San Francisco, San Jose, and Dubuque, Iowa. This immersion experience was a living witness of Matt. 25:40, “You did it unto Me.” Powerful and life changing, we came away with a deeper awareness of those less materially blessed and struggling, yet so rich in His love and needing our support. Together we are the Body of Christ….caring about one another.