Way back in February when I was trying to figure out what on earth I was going to do at FUDIS since being a therapist was out of the question, I brought up the idea of doing weekly art activities with the patients to Ines. Nearly four months later, I (with the help of so many exceptional people) managed to pull off quite a classy viewing of a selection of the paintings done by thirty-two of the patients at FUDIS.
The past few weeks have been a blur of organizing and collaborating with FUDIS and VASE to get this art exposition ready – I can now add floral arrangement and curator to my repertoire – and it all came together last night at the inauguration of the exposition, called “Una Arcoiris de Esperanza”, or a Rainbow of Hope. About 75 people came for the speaking program/cocktail party and the local news channel showed up to capture it all. Seeing the room full of people and the large camera hovering right near the stage made me incredibly nervous to give my toast (in Spanish, no less!), but all went well and I managed to not dissolve in a pool of sweat at the podium. After speaking to many of the guests about the paintings and my time here in general, I stepped back for a moment to reflect on the scene around me. Not only was it an amazing feeling to know that hey, I helped make this happen, but also to know how much this would do for both VASE and FUDIS. Both foundations need all the exposure they can get, and this was such a wonderful opportunity to get the word out about the good things that both programs are doing here in Ecuador.
Even though I still have three weeks left, it already feels like I’m starting to say goodbye to Quito. The expo was the culmination of everything I’ve been doing here, and looking around I realized how much I’ve actually accomplished. There were definitely days working at FUDIS where I felt frustrated and lonely, but in that moment, I felt so much love and appreciation for everything that FUDIS and VASE has given me since I arrived.