Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kids in Cuenca

One thing I noticed right away when we first arrived in Cuenca was how well behaved children are here. There are no public outbursts, whining or temper tantrums often associated with kids in the U.S.

I had to wonder? Is it a DNA sort of thing or is it how the children are raised in Ecuador? So I went right to the source; I asked several Ecuadorians what they thought made the difference. They all agreed that it’s the way children are treated starting as infants. You often see mothers nursing their children in public—usually very discreetly. So is breastfeeding the answer?

I’m sure that the mother/child nurturing relationship is the beginning, but there’s so much more. Children in Ecuador are grateful for the smallest things. When I’m on the bus, I watch mothers swaddle their babies around their back in brightly colored blankets, grandmothers doting on their grandkids, and siblings often playing—not fighting—with each other. That’s not to say, these children are “perfect,” but the noticeable difference is too prevalent not to take notice.

Our love for children in Cuenca has led us to work with the Kids’ Club at our church on Saturdays. We start by collecting kids at the Mercado (asking their parents’ permission—of course), and then we take them back to the church, have story time, sing songs, let the children color their worksheet, provide a snack, and an hour later, we deliver them back to their parents.

These kids may not have much materialistically, but they are “rich”; they know they are loved, they are polite, well-mannered, and take nothing for granted. Their faces shine with gratitude. I’ve worked with kids in a variety of situations overseas and in the States, and I have to tell you…these kids are special (all of them).

We look forward to every Saturday morning because we know that bright smiles await us! Little do they know…they give back so much more than we give to them.

Many expats offer to volunteer their time in Ecuador: some teach English  in private schools, others work in orphanages, and some help children with handicaps. As “guests” in this country, we want to do our part to give back as a way to say “thank you.”

I must warn you: working with kids in Cuenca is contagious, so you just might find yourself doing it full-time!

Until next time…hasta luego!


Carolyn Byers Ruch said...

Can't think of a better investment of your time. Kids are the best. Have a blast!

MyLittleShihTzus said...

Hi Connie ;-)

That is so interesting that you don't see the tantrums in public like we do here in the US. Not spoiling them has to be part of it.

Looks like you are having a wonderful time learning as you go in your new adventures in Ecuador!

I look forward to reading more about your journey!

Susan Skitt said...

That's great Connie - God is using you to minister wherever you go!

Connie Pombo said...

Carolyn & Susan, Yep, can't take the missionary out of me! These kids are so adorable, my heart just sings when I'm with them. And I never miss an opportunity to hold a baby!

My Little Shih TzusI gave Mocha a bath today and I'll have to post pictures! So hilarious, he shrinks to a Tootsie Roll and then fluffs back up again! ;-)

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