Quito, Ecuador is a city of paradoxes. Its beautiful mountains are populated by an arid landscape that oddly, has many tropical trees and fruits. Set right on the equator, the people in Quito will wear sweaters in July when it is 60 degrees. Every house, building, church, and hotel is barricaded by tall fences with barbed wire, or concrete walls jutted with glass on top. I felt as if the city were screaming “Stay Out!” But then, as we entered the Compassion school, adorable little five to ten year old kids would come running to us and jump up and down asking to be held. They would laugh and giggle and act as if they felt completely safe in the arms of a stranger.
Perhaps this is a paradox; cold walls keeping you out, warm hearts inviting you in. Or perhaps this is a testimony to the change Christ creates in people’s hearts. The church (Iglesia Christiano Carmen Bajo) and the Compassion school are run by devoted Christians who show Christ’s love to the children and their families. We got to partner along-side the Compassion staff and be a part of the impact they have on the children. We helped with Elementary games, crafts, dance and preparing a hot meal – which for some kids is the only meal they may get (Compassion also hosts a preschool in mornings).