I wanted to see Pasolini's 'The Gospel According to St Matthew', which was playing at my favourtie movie theatre at 9 tonight, but I am still too fearful of something going awry; my concern tonight was that I would not find a taxi outside of Ochoymedio and if I called a taxi it would not come, and I would be wandering around La Floresta looking for a taxi and be vulnerable again. So I stayed home and found the film on Netflix and watched it in the dark in my bedroom (almost a movie theatre feel) feeling far safer and pleased to have seen the movie. I will have to look up other movies I want to see, and take advantage of our Netflix membership, except that I really like to get out and be in the city, especially at night, so I would rather not live in fear and hide at home.
Mary and Jesus
I did not stay safe at home this morning, when I joined the Canadian women to deliver toys to a school in the northern part of the city close to Mitad del Mundo. It was run by an Italian order of nuns, from the Puglia region of Italy, and is designed to serve the underprivileged children of this impoverished barrio of Quito. I was impressed at how modern and clean the facilities were. I learned that the Canadians have been helping the school for years and many of the large appliances and playground structures were donated by Canadian companies and the Embassy. The children are accustomed to receiving gifts from the Canadian women each year, and when we entered the whole school was waiting for us in the courtyard. The noise was deafening and never stopped during our time there. The children sang for us, presented cards and each class had a representative give a short speech. The little ones dressed in nativity scene outfits and marched around showing off their costumes. We handed out 385 gifts. I kissed about 2oo boys on the cheek as I gave out their presents and said 'Feliz Navidad' countless times. The children were very appreciative, as was the sister running the school.
I was impressed with the work the nuns were doing. The children looked well taken care of and happy. We were invited to tour the school and have coffee and cake with the sister. Clearly she ran the school efficiently and is entirely devoted to the children. It was a very hopeful experience and I felt honoured to be able to participate in the activity. I was impressed that we had almost enough toys for all the children, except that we had more boy toys than girl toys and a few older girls were stuck with soccer balls, which the boys were envious of and tried to switch so they could have the soccer balls. It was clear that the girls did not play soccer.
The transition to Maya's school was disconcerting. It is so evident that the children are well off and advantaged at her school. I am told that the public schools in Ecuador are not at all adequate to educate the population and that if possible, a parent will send their children to private schools, of which there are dozens in town and ranging in cost from reasonable to outrageous. Public schools are poorly funded and variable in quality, although there are some well reputed high schools that are public. Benalcazar is a very good school near our home on Republica del Salvador.
I visited Maya's teacher for a parent teacher conference and was reassured that Maya is adjusting and doing well at school. She has been happier each week, and goes to school with anticipation and excitement daily. Her teacher tells me she is playing with several children and has recovered from her rocky start. I was relieved and unsurprised at her progress. Whew!