We have met some amazing people on our trip so far! Many are living here in Quito, some volunteer during their vacation time, and some are just here to serve however they can be used. Dr. Bob volunteers here during his vacation time in the States. We met Dr. Bob in the kitchen of the guest house we are staying at. We struck up a conversation with him and heard how we comes to Ecuador a few times a year to lead medical students throughout the country in serving. He heard our mission of The Yada Project and his eyes lit up. He told us about an orphanage in the jungle that is amazing and needs their story shared. We all thanked God for allowing us to meet in passing and went along our merry way. A week later, after sickness, other meetings with missionaries, we realized we had an extra day open. Hmmm…what to do with that day? Sightsee? Rest? Nah, let’s go to the jungle!
Early on Thursday morning, we set out for the jungle town of Shell (about a 5 hour bus ride from Quito). We were on a mission to find an orphanage that is growing by leaps and bounds. Each missionary (starting with Dr. Bob) that heard we were looking for a way to show how God was at work in Ecuador mentioned La Casa de Fe. We decided we should check it out…are we glad we did! La Casa de Fe (The House of Faith) is located in the small town of Shell. It is an orphanage for children that are orphaned, abandoned, abused, and those with special needs.
La Casa de Fe started from one single woman, Patty Sue, moving to Quito to repair wheelchairs. Within her first few weeks of being here, someone dropped off a little girl with severe special needs. Patty Sue took her in and in the next few weeks continued to find children dropped at her doorstep. She decided that maybe God had placed her here in Quito to care for unwanted children instead of repairing wheelchairs. She became a registered foster care parent in Ecuador and decided she could care for more children if she moved out of the city of Quito. She moved to Shell about 10 years ago. Up until 2 years ago, she lived in a 4 bedroom house and housed 48 children. Yes, you read that correctly…48 children in a less than 2000 square foot house. Allow that to sink in.
La Casa de Fe has gotten some help from doctors, nurses, dentists, construction workers and many others! They have purchased a property and completed building a 9000 sq ft building that houses now 82 children. All of these children are between the ages of 9 months-13 years. They now have 6 bedrooms lined with bunk beds, a large kitchen, a homework room, a physical therapy room, and a few bathrooms. (The kitchen serves 3 meals a day and 2 snacks EVERY SINGLE DAY to 100 people.)
This is the best environment these children have ever known. Many still have parents living but for a variety of reasons, are not wanted or are unable to be cared for by their parents. We loved watching the kids play and were reminded of the simple trusting nature that each child has. They are being cared for, given an education, taught about Jesus and are being loved.
The property they have purchased currently has the house, a school, and a workshop on it. Starting at 4K, the kids start going to the school on the property and will continue there through high school. They hope to build another building so they have more space for more children.
We toured the property, heard the story of the beginnings of Casa de Fe, and met a bunch of the children. What a joy to see how clearly God is at work in the small jungle town of Shell. As we reflect on the Bible’s command to care for orphans and to “love the least of these”, La Casa de Fe is an excellent example. We plan to feature more of the story of their orphanage on The Yada Project website and provide ways to partner with them in the future.