The beginning of the calendar year coincides with the end of the school year here in Ecuador. Unfortunately, due to rising coronavirus concerns with the omicron variant, the mission school returned to complete virtual learning right before Christmas. Almost everyone we know has been sick in the past few weeks, but gratefully symptoms have been mild and hospitalizations rare. It is extremely discouraging for the students to be back online. The school year ends in February and it is unlikely students will return to the classroom before then. But we are extremely hopeful that the mission school will start the 2022 school year with in-person learning.
The children at the mission home continue to be fortunate through these years of virtual learning. They have maintained a relatively ‘normal’ routine, attending classes led by tutors every morning, and completing homework followed by group games and activities in the afternoon. The past month brought a few new faces to the mission home, including one-year old twins. We doubt that we have begun to see the long term economic and social effects of the pandemic, but it is obvious that child suffering continues to be rampant by the number of new children at the home each month. We are grateful for the missionary women that welcome and care for them with such love.
In our university program, most of the students are studying virtually. We have enrolled another group of high-school seniors into our university preparation course. They will take the entrance exam to university in March. We look forward to sharing some of their personal stories with you in the coming weeks.