After leaving Quito, I made a brief stop on the coast before continuing south to Peru. I am in Olón, a city near Montañita but much less touristy and crowded.
There is an orphanage on the cliff about halfway between Montañita and Olón, Santa Maria del Fiat. I visited and was given a tour, and briefly met some of the children, but they requested I not take pictures inside because it is very much their home. It was almost refreshing to hear this… the home is structured like a family casa, and it would be a bit weird to have a stranger come in and wander around like it’s a tourist attraction. All the children are older – none younger than 6 – and the home has a school on the grounds. The children at this school have a high school graduation rate of 70%, a lot better than the 40% that graduate from high school in Olón. They are starved for money, and one of the caretakers, una tia, who lives there talked at length about the difficulty of raising so many teenage girls and boy in a relatively small space. No adoptions are facilitated by Santa Maria del Fiat. The director is a German nun who I didn’t get the chance to meet, unfortunately; although it is a Catholic institution, they seemed quite laid back, as far as evangelizing the children goes.
This was probably the most idyllic location for an home I’ve ever seen, and probably the first and last time I’ll be at an orphanage in my swimsuit.
Tomorrow I’m off to Peru for awhile. I promise to write about Aristotle and Hobbes soon… when I’m less distracted by paradise.