Sunday, April 17, 2011

House in Cuenca with furniture and artwork up, some of you asked for these. Here they are!

Ok, we are pretty well settled now and we have hung the art, which several of you wanted to see up and we have done the front yard with Ecuadorian plants.  See above.
If we owned an auto this is where it would be parked.  At the entrance of the house.

Standing in the front door looking into the living room.  Be sure to notice the ceilings.
Living room, small but very cozy looks out to the garden.  My secret garden.

Other side of the living, many of you will recognize the "big mirror" we have been schlepping around for years.

Looking from back of Living Room up the staircase.  The tryptich is on right.

Headed straight up the stairs.  The window is our bedroom, which was added after the house was built, so it was originally an outside window, now it looks into my staircase, a great setup.

Somewhat closer view of the trio.

The "Elvis Angel Choir" is singing on the staircase, daily.  So named by Stef my little SIS, so clever.  The lead angel looks like Elvis, most of the angels are Mexican in origin.

Looking us while taking the turn on the stairs.  Nana Dean and Sophie Heine masterpiece is at upper left of this group.

Upstairs landing hallway outside second bath and two guest rooms.  Check out the light coming in, we have three skylights on the second floor, floods the house with light.

Yes, Clive has adjusted as you can see him on the Aunt Jane Bench in the hallway looking into the den where we watch TV.

Second floor landing view, looking at our bedroom window, Linda remember when we bought that kimono?  One Lafayette Square House Tour poster to left of window.

Front bedroom, come on down, the mattress is great.  Purchased in Ecuador.

Bill's little studio where he spends hours, wails, sings, composes and has the time of his life.  I love being in the house and listening for him to turn into a rocker.

Guest bathroom, where the cats have been playing with the TP.

Back guest bedroom overlooking the courtyard terrace.

Other side of back guest bedroom, big window overlooks the courtyard terrace.  You can see I have a project getting organized on the bottom of the bed.

This is proof that Mr. Reggie has adjusted, he is laying on our bed.  Head board is the frame from the foyer of Kennett Place.  I painted a fantasy of the Caja Mountains (our mountains here, with St. Louis in the background.)  The yellow brick road goes to STL where a piece of my heart will always be.  The tin man is leading the way.  The bare light bulb is a testimony to the fact that this is what is found in most Ecuadorian houses.  We are slowly putting up light fixtures as we find them. Not an easy task.

Den where we watch TV.  Citicorp cartoons on wall at left.  Wooden doors reflected in mirror is Bill's closet, which he never closes as you can see.

I am at my dining room room table, quilting.  Yes, I am teaching myself to quilt after all these years.  Some of you know how much I love an excuse to buy fabric.  The various plastic chairs are testimony to the good dining room chairs that did not make it on.  Just last week we ordered new ones to be delivered in May.

Looking from the other end of the dining room into the back courtyard/terrace.

One wall of dining room, with Ella Mae Krotz Memorial buffet, yes Richard that is a reflection of the print of your painting of the St. Louis Skyline, such a treasure.

Looking from the dining room into the kitchen.  Buffet on left is being fitted with a piece of granite and built higher for me to chop and stir on.  The tall woman can't bend over to the short Ecuadorian ladies height.

One end of courtyard/terrace looking at the door of my art studio.

View of terrace outside kitchen window.

Table and umbrella just outside the back door on terrace.

Bill's work shop.

My studio with a work in progress and a big finished one waiting for a friend's new condo to be finished so it can be hung in the stairwell.

Looking out the dining room front window toward the street: Calle Valle de Catamayo.  We are settled and love our house.  We have a great landlord, a Ecuadorian businesswoman whose family has an export business, they bring fruits and vegs to the states, via San Fransisco.  We are here for the duration having the time of our lives.  Hugs to all.  Dean Keyes

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Update on Fundraising Efforts to help 7 year old Mateo and his family

We want to keep those of you who are followers up to date on our effort to help Mateo and his family.  You will remember that Mateo is a 7 year old boy whose leg was mangled by a public bus when he was 4 years of age.  His family is poor and lives in the hills above Cuenca.  While we were working with his caregivers, doctors, hospital auxiliary volunteers to help with his care, we learned that the family's house had collapsed in a violent rain storm.  Thus, we started raising monies to assist with this worthy cause.  

We have held a bingo game, we have published this blog and a similar blog on my husband and my personal blog.  We have been very fortunate to acquire an anonymous donor in the U. S.  This donor will match dollar for dollar each dollar that we raise up to $2,000.  So at this point CEBA/Cuenca Expatriate Benevelent Association has raised $650.00 between our internet efforts and our fund raising efforts here in Cuenca.  That amount will be matched by the anonymous donor, bringing the total to today April 2, 2011 to $1300.00 so far.  Many thanks to those of you who have donated or participated in the bingo or "hat pass" here in Cuenca. 

Our primary contact with the family is a volunteer from the hospital auxiliary.  She along with an Ecuadorian architect and Bill Keyes, my husband a retired civil engineer have been out to the house last week.  The architect has compiled a list of building materials needed to complete the new house up to the second floor.  Remember this house had started being built before the old one collapsed.  Our Ecuadorian contact has gotten materials donated which include, concrete blocks, sacks of concrete and sand.  The husband of the family is in construction and has indicated that he has help to rebuild if we can provide the materials.  This is the plan at this time. In the next 7-10 days a truck will deliver materials mentioned above that have been donated or purchased with CEBA donations to the building site. Then we will document the progress of these materials as the house is built and keep you updated.  We thank you again for your kind donations.  Stay tuned to this blog for further updates.  For those of you who might like to make a contribution, you can do this at: pay pal address:


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cuenca Expats Benevolent Association

Along with some friends we recently formed this Foundation and this is our first blog for it.  For future updates of the Foundation you can find it at this link..

This blog is being posted by the Cuenca Expatriate Benevolent Association, CEBA.  This is a recently established not for profit organization formed by North Americans living in Cuenca, Ecuador.  The purpose of the organization is to be a catalyst for identifying worthwhile causes and helping out where we can,  in our newly adopted home city of Cuenca.  Cuenca is a beautiful city in the Andean Mountains of Ecuador.  

In the beautiful mountains outside Cuenca lives a family of 10 who need our help.  This mother and father (father works full time in the construction business) with 8 children live on a small plot of land they own.  Until recently they lived in a small adobe brick house that was many years old.  In a recent rain storm the house collapsed and consequently the family has had to relocate to a neighbors.  They do not want to leave their land since they need to care for their animals which include: 2 cows, sheep, goats, chickens.  They used to have a bull but they sold it to raise money to help with their son Mateo's medical costs.  

Mateo is 7, when he was 4 he was hit by a public bus and his leg was almost severed from his body.  A Cuban doctor here in Cuenca reattached the leg and is seeing Mateo, free of charge every two weeks as he adjusts the metal brace that helps Mateo's crushed leg grow at the same pace as his good leg.  At this time Mateo is not ambulatory.  But, he is working toward that and with our help we hope to be able to report that he will be after some tender loving care.  This TLC is dispensed by his  mother and father and siblings to him daily.  It is a very lovely caring family who are very happy with their life and show it daily. 

As you can see this indigenous family are hard working and have very little compared to the life of Americans and most Ecuadorians.  The Cuenca Expatriate Benevolent Association has decided  that the first project of this newly formed not for profit foundation will be to help Mateo's family get back on 
their feet and hopefully get some rehab and education for Mateo to aid his recovery from this devastating bus accident.

Cuenca Expatriate Benevolent Association has already started raising money to assist this family.  We are also working with a very generous community leader who is part of the local hospital axillary who is helping this family, also.  CEBA is donating the proceeds from our weekly Gringo Bingo game to the family of Mateo, but we are coordinating with the Doctor and the rehab efforts to be sure what is being given is going to the families needs.  

We would ask you to consider a donation on behalf of Mateo and his family.  You can send your donations via PayPal to
our Paypal account

Below are photos of the family and the house that needs attention since the rain/hail storm. 


This is a view of the valley and the house before the house collapsed.

Mateo's family keeps animals to help maintain the family as well as to sell eggs and chickens to make money.

The is the little cat that Mateo was so worried about as the house collapsed.  He did not want to leave until he knew his gato was safe.

Their are a total eight children in the family.  Only four of them live at home.  Mateo is in the red shirt with his right arm raised.  Momma has on the grey hat and her name is Francisca.

This is a close up of Mateo's injured left leg.

This is a close up of Mateo who spends lots of time in bed because he is not yet ambulatory.

This photo was taken just after his accident three years ago.

This is another photo of the family with the big brother and his child, who live elsewhere.  At left is Monica Flores who is liaison for the family with our foundation.  She is a local Cuenca business woman and member of the hospital auxillary that serves Mateo's needs.

Old house on left, new house on right. The family had started building the new house prior to the collapse of the one on the left.  

This shows the old house after it collapsed.  Mateo's father has already begun salvaging materials that can be reused. It is our focus to concentrate our help to finish the new house for the family.  Mateo's father will also finish the remains of the old house into a one story structure that the family can use, also.

Close up of collapsed house, that was a two story structure.
Francisca with youngest child.

Salvaged roof tiles from the old house.

These are Mateo's parents and his youngest sister, in front of the house where they are staying temporarily.

Any donation you can make will be helpful. Over the next few weeks we will be compiling list of Mateo's various needs and will post how much they will cost.  

CEBA is a joint venture of both concerned Expats and Cuencanos.  Our efforts will be focused on fundraising and our Cuencano friends will help getting materials and labor for projects like this one and also help in deciding which projects we will fund.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pase Del Ninos 12-24-10 Cuenca Ecuador

Here is a youtube link for a slide show video of the Pase Del Ninos parade and procession that is held on Christmas Eve.  It was started in 1961 and is the largest procession of its kind in Ecuador.  The floats which vary in size from just a car to big flat bed trucks are done by mostly local citizens with whatever that have and can afford to do.  But the children all dressed up in their clothes (as we used to say going to church clothes) and costumes is what it is all about.  It starts about 10 AM and goes all day until early evening.  It normally doesnt rain this time of year but it has every day this December,  but Mother Nature held off and the rain did not start until the procession was almost over.

Here is the link.....

BTW the music is one of my original compositions


Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas at The Delorace Flores Flores School Near Cuenca Ecuador

Giving to others especially those less fortunate then most of us any time, always brings a warm feeling to your heart.  Giving at Christmas is especially rewarding.  However sometimes one has an experience that transcends all of this and is something that you will always remember for your whole life. I had such an experience yesterday.

It all began about 6 weeks ago when some friends of ours became aware of a school near Cuenca way up in the mountains accessible only by dirt roads,  that was having problems with their water supply.  Upon investigating our friends found that the outflow pipe from their cistern which is high on a hill that supplied water for cooking and for toilets was blocked so no water flowed.  So they decided to see what could be done to repair the blocked pipe. A plumber was found who upon inspecting the problem said he could fix it for $480.  At a Thanksgiving dinner at the California Kitchen a local restaurant run by Americans over $700 was raised mostly by "gringos" as we are called.  When a question was raised about what to do with the extra money, we found out that neither the parents of the children of the school or the school (about 120 kids in grades up to 7th) did not have any funds to give them any kind of Christmas party.  So a plan was conceived to give each child a sack of candy and also some school supplies likes pencils etc and some jump ropes and a soccer ball at a Christmas party. So a date was set was set to get the plumbing fixed and then take the candy etc to the school and give it to the children.  We did not expect it to be any big deal but we were in for a surprise.

Since yesterday was the last Sunday before Christmas many churches big and small have colorful processions celebrating the birth of Jesus on this Sunday.

So early yesterday morning we went by bus and a truck called a mixto which is used for hauling things to a town called El Valle.  There we met some people associated with the school and we rented another truck and proceeded up a one lane pot hole filled road to the school.  The sky was blue the air was fresh as we climbed about 1500 feet above Cuenca to almost 10,000 feet.  The scenery along the way was breath taking and reminded us of being in the Swiss Alps.

After about 20 minutes we came upon a group of people who as it turned out were from the school and had walked over 2 miles to meet us and escort us back to the school.  Many people were in costume especially the children and we found out that this was to be the Christmas procession to the church which was also on the school grounds and they wanted us to be a part of it. We were not in the least expecting such a warm reception and felt honored and humbled that they wanted us to be a part of their cultural tradition.

So the procession got organized which included Mary on a horse a truck leading it with Christmas music playing, and we walked behind it down the hill stopping occasionally for other vehicles to pass.  A man occasionally would set off fireworks to announce our journey.  It was a joyous, heart warming and humbling experience to walk with these simple people through the beautiful land they lived in and lived on.  We saw crops they cultivated, animals the raised and fed and many very humble dwellings which they called home.  Since it rains a lot this time of year a sudden down pour would have surely put a damper on this procession but they sky remained blue with only a few clouds.

Upon arriving at the school which was set upon a hill nothing fancy just classrooms, a cocina (kitchen) and big plaza which served as a gathering place and also for volley ball and soccer.  At one end of the plaza was a small church higher upon a hill.

We went first to see the repaired cistern which the people proudly showed us and also how the water was flowing to the cocina and the bathrooms.

Then it was announced that before we handed out the candy and school supplies the children wanted to perform for us.  Over the next 20 minutes they had sack races and and two musical chair races one boys and one girls.  We laughed and cheered with all the parents and others watching the ninos.  There was music provided by some young men who brought in sound equipment and played all kinds of upbeat music including some rap and hip hop as well as traditional western Christmas music and Latin music like Feliz Navidad.

Then the children were all gathered hand in hand in a circle and they began to dance and go around and around, and to the delight of those watching and those of us who had quickly become children again ourselves, we joined in and has more fun then we probable have had for years.

Then we passed out the treats.  We did not have the children come to us.  We went to each one and gave them their sacks.  Each one sometimes shyly would thank us and give us those sweet smiles with those big black eyes that melted our hearts.

Then it was time for them to feed us.  We sat at the tables the children eat at and were served  a traditional Ecuadorian fare of chicken rice potatoes lettuce and surprise! roast guinea pig.  For drink we had good ole Coca Cola.

Of course the whole scene was some what unorganized and chaotic but it didnt matter.  What mattered was the love fellowship kindness and caring that we were surrounded with.

We wished we could stay and be kids again forever but we had to become adults again and do adult things, but for a few short hours we had an incredible experience which we will never forget.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pictures of Our New Digs in Cuenca

This is the name of the street we have moved to.  It is centrally located one block south of the Tomebamba Rio.  This tile is on the wall of our compound.
The tile featured in the above photo is at the upper right corner of our wall.  The is the front view off the street.

This is the front yard, which Bill has big plans for.  He will make it bloom!
                                                        The front door.  Still have some moving items in the portico.

Looking straight in the front door.  You can see the little Christmas tree and part of the Angel Choir I do every Christmas.
This is the living room.  Notice the ornate ceiling.  It looks like the old 20th century tin ceiling, but it is made of plaster.  They still produce them today and use them liberally.
                                           Another view of the Living Room.
                                           Back of the living room looking toward the kitchen.
Staircase to the second floor, we have not hung any art in the staircase yet, it will require a ladder which we will have to borrow or acquire.   Below left is a view to the left of the staircase into the half bath on the first floor.

Just inside the kitchen at the back of the living room, looking into the dining room.
Galley kitchen which is my favorite, since the Adlon kitchen.  Some of you will remember that kitchen.
                                              Looking into the dining room from the kitchen. 
                          Dining Room looking toward the front of the house and the portico.  As
you can see my sewing machine is up and doing duty.  Thankful that I brought it.  I was doing curtains for the bedrooms.  Actually cutting some down that hung at Kennett Place, fabric I had bought in Paris.
Add caption
Section of the rear terrace, we are completely compounded.  No back gate.

Another view of the back terrace.  The doorway leads to a separate servants quarters that I have appropriated for my art studio.

Reverse end of the terrace, just off the kitchen.


Back door into kitchen.

Some of Bill's plants.