I realized this week that I've been writing a whole lot about all of the traveling and sightseeing I've done, but next to nothing about my work at FUDIS. Don't worry, I've found time to volunteer in between trips, and things are going really well.
Every Monday the senoras come for a few hours to what I like to refer to as "The Stitch and Bitch". We sit around eating snacks and embroidering handtowels and chat from 3 to 5:30. It's probably the highlight of my week, mostly because I get to be so crafty. The ladies assured me that I can definitely get married now that I've mastered the art of embroidery. Super. Here are some photos of my progress:
During the last few weeks of March, much of my time was consumed by preparing Fanesca, which is a traditional Ecuadorian fish stew/chowder served at Easter. Fasneca has 8 grains in it (supposedly to represent the apostles? I never paid attention in Sunday School), and every single one of these grains has to be peeled. Hence, many an afternoon was spent with a few patients and a 2 pound bag of peas or corn. Though it wasn't my favorite task, it was a great way to get to know many of the long-term patients better. And the end result was absolutely worth the work. Yum.
There's been a really great group of patients and families here at FUDIS for the past week or so; sometimes it can be really hit or miss with so many people coming and going. We've got quite a few long-term patients staying with us right now (here for the next 2 to 6 weeks), and it's nice to have such a family atmosphere in the building. Jorge, a patient from Argentina, brings fresh flowers every day and likes to play Argentinian love songs during lunch. I have a really hard time understanding his accent, though, and Jimmy thinks it's hilarious to listen to us talk. There's another couple, Luis and Marta, who are here for the long haul and like to get rousing games of cards going at night. They're big into word searches, and I'm currently trying to teach them the joys of Soduku.
One of the biggest projects that I'm working on right now is putting together an exhibition of the patient artwork that we've been doing in the past few months. Amparo, the director of FUDIS, is super excited about it and got a friend to frame 40 of the paintings for free. There's an reception planned for late May with the hopes of raising some money for the foundation - more details on this later - but it's a pretty big deal for us and I'm really looking forward to it.