We are into our final week. Unbelievable how the time has flown.

A week ago our little group received a boost when we were joined by Rodrigo from Venezuela, who until last Tuesday was in the Manta group. He’s great and a huge help to us, because he’s familiar with the conditions in South America and can take care of some things more easily.

On Friday our dance troupe from the afternoon school came second in a big dance competition. Various schools from the town performed dances on an open-air stage. They sew their costumes themselves with great attention to detail, and the children loved being there. Last year they came first and you could see that some of them were disappointed with second place. But then when a camera team put them in the spotlight, they felt like the stars. We cheered them on in the crowd with homemade posters.

On Saturday we had our big school party, where we entertained the kids for 4 hours in the scorching heat. While the older ones played football and basketball tournaments, we played giant pick-up sticks with the little ones in the shade, made glasses out of pipe cleaners and card, painted faces and – the big finale – held a water-balloon fight. By 1 p.m., we and all the kids and teachers were soaked and we took it easy for the rest of the day.

When we go out to eat in the evenings, we often see children working. It breaks your heart to say “no gracias” to the little boys and girls who hold out chewing gum, sweets or stickers to us. And then they still always walk a few yards with us. But we don’t want to support child labour, even by buying stuff. Ecuador wants to be free of child labour by 2011. There is also an elderly woman here in the neighbourhood who puts her disabled son out on the street in his sickbed and begs for money for him. It’s indescribable to see that kind of thing in public.

Yesterday we held a teeth-cleaning workshop. The toothbrushes and toothpastes we brought from Europe were put to use – hopefully not just today but also in the future. Some of the children’s mouths/ teeth look bad. 4-year-olds have clearly visible tooth decay. They constantly have sweets or ice cream in their mouths.

Today we watched a film show of “Momo” with our afternoon school. The children loved the cartoon film. Unfortunately, not all of them could come because not all the families could afford the $3 entrance.

Tomorrow the library in the morning school will be inaugurated. In the last two weeks we have cleared it out, painted it, organised new furniture, and today we spent the whole morning labelling. Now you can actually find stuff there :o)

Best wishes from
Senorita Cristiana and Senorita Linde

PS. You can now see some of our photos on the Pronino Flickr set.

Christiane and Linde are two of our Pronino volunteers and are blogging from Latin America. To find out more about Proniño, head to http://dnc.o2.co.uk/home/Pronino.

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