Sunday, June 6, 2010

Festival of Corpus Cristi and Fundacion Arenal

This week in Cuenca we are celebrating the festival of Corpus Cristi, which started on Thursday, June 3.   This varies each year depending on when Easter is.  The centro around the Cathedral is lined with white canopy tents that are filled with sweets, candies, cookies, lollipops and roses. We visited today and took lots of pictures, bought some goodies and have been sitting cross legged in bed drinking tea and enjoying the sweets while we edit the photos that we are going to share with you.  While we were downtown we also invested in a shoe shine, and we always have the children do our shines, you will see their photos, too. 

Another of our exploits is volunteering at an after school program that iscalled Fundacion Arenal.  The children 7-14 are from families whose parents work in a nearby market:  Fiere Libre.  The families are very poor and the students do not get a lot of help with homework from their parents.  So that is what the Fundacion provides.  So I am starting to teach sewing and Bill is taking photos for them.  They did not have any pictures of any of there students or the activities.  Other expats are helping students complete homework.  We work 1-2 days each week during the after school hours.  I am also being asked to teach the mothers how to use a sewing machine.  This is not a throw away society like the U.S.  So they mend clothes by hand.  The director is very excited that we might be able to teach the Moms how to mend on the sewing machine.  Bill is also going to do some building that needs to be taken care of in the building where the Latch Key type program is held.  So we have photos of the children and the school facility also.  

This is the sign outside the school facility.  This is walking distance from where we live.

Marlen is a charm girl.  The volunteer in the pink shirt is a teacher from Seattle on a sabbatical, she teaches Spanish in America.  She has been teaching at the University here and she and her husband and two daughters have just completed their year here.  After some travel in Ecuador they will return to Seattle.

One of the teachers at Fundacion Arenal

This young woman is a volunteer from Germany.  The Fundacion is originally funded by German volunteers wheo lived in Cuenca. This young woman is my translator for teaching the sewing classes.

One of the students. Children here are very happy and rarely pouty for a new toy.

Let's call him "old brown eyes".

The students get lots of one on one attention that they seem to thrive on.

Talk about a cutey pie

This young man's name is Jaime

A game of hoops in the courtyard.  You will see she is wearing a uniform sweater from her day school.

This is in the courtyard where the hoops are played.

The Ecuadorian children have beautiful smiles.

Hoops Continued!

She is setting with a tutor who is helping her do her homework.

Another beautiful smile!

This is Marlen the charm girl I mentioned earlier, check out the cutie behind her. The girl on the right is one of the teachers.

Is this one having fun????

They seemed to love getting their picture taken.  We will be taking these to the school this week when we go and putting them on a computer slide show so all the kids can see themselves.

Another charming smile!

Two friends enjoying themselves.

A happy child, check out the neat old ceiling above his head.

The amount of sweets is mind boggling.  Cookies, candies, lollipops in stall after stall.  When we asked when the Festival would end, the response was, when the candy is all gone.

The variety is not great, from stall to stall, it appears that each lady has baked and made things.  As you can see there is variety within each stall.

These pics are from the flower market near the Cathedral

Any elderly lady and probably her daughter selling candles outside the Cathedral

Carnation and roses in the flower market.

This lady sells plants, we bought a wonderful one from her yesterday.  She kept it for us, until we were ready to collect it and ride the bus home.

One of a pair of sisters who were enjoying the Festival with their mother.

One of the vendors selling goodies.

A trio of Univ of Oregon students who were here in Cuenca visiting.  We visited and asked what goodies they had bought, so we would know what we wanted to buy. It worked!

Milton Bradly has been here, too!

This young man was helping his mother sell goodies that she had made.

A mother daughter duo in one of the stalls selling goodies.

Talk about a charming smile!

This was momma, we had to work at making her smile, but as you can see it was worth it.

Children choosing goodies.

He is surrounded by goodies in his mothers stall.

She knows how to play for the camera.

The arcade in front of the Cathedral was packed with stalls of goodies.

Lollipops the Roses are around the corner in the flower market.

This lady works in the panederia that we frequent.  She knows us so it is easier to make her smile.  Yesterday she had Empanadas Pollo which is one of our favorites, we had them for dinner last night.

This is me coming out of the panederia with my empanadas pollo.

The street where the panederia is located, one block north of the cathedral, you can see it in the background.

These kiddos were not camera shy.

Puppy in Parque Calderon where we had our shoes shined.

This little guy is a big time entrepreneur, does a great shoe shine. His name is Carlos, we always look for him downtown when we want to have our shoes shined.  He does a great job.

We think this might be his sister.  She shined my red leather sandals yesterday for .30, but I gave her a .10 tip.

He is making change for her here, since I gave her a dollar coin.  He had made change for a five dollar bill earlier for Bill. They counted it out in English for us.  They were very proud of themselves.  We applauded loudly.

Parque Calderon the heart of the city. Beautiful park.

She was having too much FUN!

Lots of fun being had at the Festival of Corpus Christi

Goodbye for NOW!!!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Bill and Dean,

    This email is to introduce ourselves. We are Mike and Pat Grimm from Arizona. We are moving to Cuenca in August. (Our flight from Los Angeles is on August 3rd.) Please see our blog at

    We have really enjoyed reading your blog and have found it to be very educational. It's good to know that all of the preparation, the hard work, and the emotions are pretty normal when you're experiencing a major lifestyle change. We're looking forward to meeting you in due time. We're also looking forward to getting healthier, to walking a lot and to eating fresh food, and to living more economically than in the U.S.

    Until we meet,

    Mike and Pat Grimm