Ecuador 8/31/2018 - 9/15/2018

Tuesday, 9/11/2018 - Babysitting

This morning I had another early meeting, so I ate my breakfast in my office. We had potato pancakes, bread, ham, and cheese. This morning's coffee was made with hot milk rather than water. It was very rich, even though it was just instant coffee. We don't quite know what it is with the milk here in terms of how it is processed, but it sure is a lot richer and tastier than milk at home.

Antonio has been having a lot of back pain lately. Rosa dug an enormous sweet potato out of the garden. She gave us each a raw slice, and then she used it to prepare a remedy for Antonio's back. We love the way that the family utilizes traditional remedies in addition to modern medicine. If we ever get a stomach ache or a cold, she always picks something from the garden to make tea or juice. And when Craig was sick with his MS attack, they gave him a steam bath using medicinal leaves.

El Señor Chipikins spent a lot of time sleeping in our casita today. He seemed to be hiding a bit from the kids and their constant outpouring of physical love. The kids don't know their own strength, and they manhandle him quite a bit. He doesn't seem to mind most of the time. He has a much higher tolerance for it than any cat we have ever owned. But he certainly likes to take a time-out for several hours in the middle of the day, hiding in Rosa's sewing room or our casita.

The time zone difference between here and home means that our lunchtime often coincides with my work meetings. Today was one such day, so I had to eat lunch upstairs in my office. It's a small price to pay for the ability to spend a couple of weeks at a time with our compadres.

For lunch, we had soup, meatballs in a curry-ish sauce, red cabbage, mixed veggie salad, and rice.

Rosa's niece Delia has two little girls. Ashley is Shina's age (6), and little Kelly is a toddler. Delia was helping her family with a construction project next door, so Rosa babysat the girls. Ashley remembered us from previous years, and though shy, greeted us. Kelly was an infant when we last saw her, and she was terrified of the two gringos in her midst. We gave her a wide berth to avoid upsetting her. It was tough; I wanted to scoop her up into a big hug. But like her sister, we are sure that she will be more comfortable around us with repeated exposure.

El Señor Chipikins showed up with black all over the side of his face and his neck. It looked like he had been exploring in the sooty corners of Abuelita's outdoor kitchen. Since he had taken so well to a bath after being covered with blueberry juice last week, I decided to try it again. And this time Craig was filming it.

I carried the cat to the outdoor sink and lightly held him while I scrubbed his face. He seemed to like it, so I used the boat brush that they use to scrub laundry. I put a little bit of soap on it and gently rubbed the side of his face and neck. I scrubbed him until the soot was gone. Then I had to rinse him well to remove the soap. He got a bit antsy as the cold water hit him, and at one point he swatted at the water droplets. But he was patient and endured it well. He is truly the most laid-back cat I have met.

Giving El Señor Chipikins a bath

Speaking of bathing, we had hoped that the gas truck would arrive yesterday so that we could take a hot shower. But it hadn't. It hadn't arrived today either. In between lunch and dinner, when Rosa wasn't using the stove, we asked if we could borrow the kitchen gas tank and hook it up to our water heater. Rosa was happy to oblige, and we enjoyed our very brief but hot showers before returning the tank to the kitchen.

When I was done with work for the day, we hung out with Rosa and the kids in the kitchen. Rosa was going through Shina's school supplies, making sure that she had everything. I helped to put name tags on Shina's books, and to put plastic book covers on them.

We practiced English with Sisa, teaching her phrases such as "please pass the napkins." For dinner, we had carrot soup, chicken, avocado (a gift from Felipe and Maria Jose), peas, rice, and radishes.
Rosa and her great-niece Kelly

Rosa and her great-niece Kelly

Shina, Ashley, Sisa, and Yupanqui

Shina, Ashley, Sisa, and Yupanqui

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