The Art of Giving

This post is in honour of Diane Boudreau, my mother. Ever since I can remember she has been donating her time and money to people less fortunate than herself. I remember Soeurette from Africa whom she has been sending money to for years and there's  the Santa Claus fund that she volunteers for every Christmas. Let me not forget, all the times that she has helped me with funds, buying me clothes and helping my family out. She has a heart of gold and so it wasn't a surprise when she donated $100 to our fundraiser.  Her request with the money was that we use it to help the community   where   her cousin lives and where we were to visit.  Here is our story of spreading my mother's joy of giving.

We are in Puyo in the pastaza province, which is at the edge of the rain Forrest. It's a small community of 60,000. Jean is Canadian and married to Nancy who is native to Ecuador.  Jean, my mothers cousin has lived here for 5 years. Nancy teaches at a local school and he works for 3M.  Although, jean is my second cousin. I have never met him. They are graciously hosting us in their beautiful home and have been driving us around, showing us the awesomeness of this country. Yesterday, we went to the jungle where we walked on a very wobbly, falling apart, walking bridge and saw monkeys, parrots, multicoloured flowers and so much more. We are lucky, we are blessed and having so much fun!

Today, we took my mothers $100 and bought bags of rice, sugar, salt and cooking oil. We delivered some of these goods to a family that's really struggling. This family lives in a guard shack with very little and is in survival mode. The mother left the father with their 2 children and he is struggling to stay afloat. We delivered them their food and they were so appreciative. It felt so good to give. Thanks mom for giving us this opportunity to deliver your good will. 

    Our next stop was an indigenous village about 20 Kms from Puyo. The road to get there  was bumpy and not well maintained.  The village itself was small with about three huts.  The people live off the land and sell sugar cane for their income. It's somewhat of the same story that we see with tribes around the world and Canada's First Nations, they are left behind and struggling. 

When we drove up, families started gathering one by one.  They received the food with great gratitude and we were invited to stay and hang out for a while. We got to see their simple way of living.  The children watched us with their big brown, innocent eyes.  Although, we speak very little Spanish, we communicated through gestures and smiles. 

Eventually, we were guided down to a path that lead to the school house. The building was a small hut about 20 by 10. It had 15 desks and not much more. The children sat at the wooden desks and the adults stood around.  I loved this moment. It was for me the moment of the trip. We shared English songs and they shared their native songs. The smiles on those faces and innocence in those eyes, tugged at my heart. 

There is something special about these people, who have no electricity, who live off the land and in the thick of the rain Forrest. A few meters away from the school flows 3 rivers, each river has a name and is said to have different healing properties. 

Zoe and Owen had such a special time as well. Owen stated that it was the best place he had ever been to. I love that my children are getting the fact that not everyone has an iPod and even electricity. I love that they are experiencing life outside of Canada.  In fact this has been great for Zoe and Owens friendship. At the start of this journey they were bickering a lot and just today, I noticed them laughing and playing like they use to. They were even singing in the car on the way home. I have not heard them sing together in a very long time. Sometimes, I feel like I am doing a good job of parenting my children, and today is one of those days.  

Mom, we thank you for the gift you gave to this little village in the jungle. It was so much fun delivering the food and befriending the villagers. They say that a source to happiness is giving from the heart and today, I got that. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so blessed. 

Tomorrow, we leave for a jungle tour.  Stay tuned. 

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