Saturday, April 29, 2017

Yuletide at the Olón Orphanage #AtoZChallenge

The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing others' loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays. -- W. C. Jones

December 24 is my favorite day of the year. I spend it at the Fundación Santa Maria de la Esperanza Orphanage, or Olón Orphanage, as it is called.  The children give a performance for donors and volunteers who have assisted them throughout the year. It is their beautiful way of saying thank you.

Here are some highlights from the 2016 performance.

Nativity Reenactment

Mary and Joseph, seeking accommodation

Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus are visited by shepherds

Dance

Synchronized dance routine

Concert


A 2016 new addition was a concert! Musical instruments are being donated and expats who live nearby are giving lessons. A lot of practice preceded this day, the girls' first public concert.
First ever concert for these budding musicians
(accompanied by some of their music teachers, standing)

Gifts

After the incredible performances, each child receives a backpack filled with gifts.
Performance over and gifts in hand
means it is time to relax

Happy with his backpack
and his new kite is being assembled, too

After many hugs and some tears, we visitors leave. It is time for their Christmas meal, which we collaborated to make and deliver prior to the performance.

What is your favorite day of the year?


If you are visiting from the #AtoZChallenge please include your blog link in a comment so I can check it out.

If you would like to help with the ongoing food needs at the orphanage, please go to Food on the Table.

Related post: Olón Orphanage

46 comments:

  1. Love your photos! My favorite holiday is 4th of July. I love the food and festivities.

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    1. Thanks Susan! 4th of July is fun and all of the grilled food is so yummy.

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  2. Beautiful pictures. Love the backpack idea. Christmas is my favorite holiday, too. Find me here.LINK

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    1. Thanks Susanne. The backpacks are great since the kids need a new one each year for school and the orphanage would not be able to afford them.

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  3. Such a heartwarming post and evocative photos. We need more beauty of the human spirit such as this in the world. My favorite holiday is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day because it represents a victory for civil rights and symbolizes power yielding to the people's demand.

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    1. Thanks Molly. It is such a wonderful, heartwarming day.

      Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a marvelous day to be a favorite!

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  4. Wow Emily ! I admire your spirit of kindness and service. What a wonderful way to spend Christmas eve . Love the smiles on the faces of the children , makes life so much more worthwhile .
    Best wishes,
    Moon
    https://aslifehappens60.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks Moon - I definitely get more than I give. Their joy and happiness is infectious!

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  5. What a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas! I'd love to learn to play the guitar some day too.

    Y is for the Yellowstone Conspiracy

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    1. Go for it, Tamara! I admire people who can play any instrument. I have no musical talent at all but I sure enjoy listening!

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  6. This looks like a really neat day to spend with these children. Love their smiles with their backpacks.
    Discarded Darlings - Jean Davis, Speculative Fiction Writer, A to Z: Editing Fiction

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    1. It is the best day, Jean! I wish everyone could experience the joy!

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  7. Sounds like a delightful day spent sharing love to others.

    http://sagecoveredhills.blogspot.com/2017/04/y-is-for-yellow-dwarf.html

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    1. It is a truly delightful day, Sage, full of love and happiness.

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  8. What a wonderful day that must be. My favourite? The last Tuesday in July when every year a few friends and I hire a stretch limo, put on our glad rags and have a very posh day at the horse races!

    Another day in Amble Bay!

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    1. That sounds like a fun tradition, Keith!

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  9. enjoy your posts and photos. i've passed through olon but not visited. we spend a few days in Ayampe and loved the area. we've been in cuenca just over a year now. Lightheaded: Retiring at 8300 feet

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and your kind words, Nancy. Ayampe is lovely! My home base is in Puerto López but I am in the middle of a six month stay in Cuenca now. We should get together :)

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  10. I understand why this is your favorite. The performance looks so sweet. Everyone's day is enriched!

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    1. It is incredibly sweet, Pat. Wish I could bottle up the feeling in the air that day and pass it out when people are feeling down.

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  11. Your Christmas Eve tradition is a beautiful reminder of how much an exchange of love can benefit our entire world. Thank you for sharing the inspiring photographs and your experience visiting the orphanage.

    http://poetryfromthelanai.blogspot.com

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    1. Exchange of love - what a great phrase, Gail, and it describes this so well. Thanks for dropping in from your Lanai.

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  12. Unexpected, maybe, but I just love this post!

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  13. I think today is my favorite of your A to Z posts!!

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! It's cool that your favorite is the one about my favorite day :) Such a special day!

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  14. What a lovely day! I'm always drawn to stories of orphans and orphanages. I'm curious as to what brought you to Ecuador. Girl Who Reads

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    1. Thanks Donna. I am also drawn to orphan stories. Regarding what brought us to Ecuador, here's the quick version: We took a couple of vacations and fell in love with the country. We were considering moving on from our IT careers and a complete change felt right to us. Less than two years later, we sold everything and moved.

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  15. Replies
    1. They really are, Kristin! Thanks for stopping by again :)

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  16. Aww that's very sweet! Most charities in the United States seem to only want your money and not the personal connection which kind of defeats the purpose. Still, I see where both sides are coming from.

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    1. I like being able to see exactly where money is going, too. Not really practical if it's a huge international charity.

      The orphanage is fairly cautious about who they allow in to spend time with the children. Except on Christmas Eve - then everyone is invited!

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  17. Sounds like a very nice way to spend Christmas and share the spirit of the holiday in a noncommercial way. https:// Maui Jungalow

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    1. It is Courtney. 2017 will be my fifth year spending Christmas this way and I do not miss the commercial aspects of the holiday.

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  18. Thanks for this post, Emily. It's lovely seeing how others far across the globe celebrate this season. Add Zing and Zeal as you Build a Better Blog It's been a good month. I hope to bring out an eBook based on these posts plus some additions within the next month. #atozchallenge

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    1. I agree Shirley. It is nice to see how others spend holidays.

      Your posts have been so useful to me as I begin to navigate the blogging world. Thanks for helping through your writing and I will keep coming over to find more suggestions. Hope your book does great!

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  19. Love the pictures you use to highlight your post.
    Thanks for stopping by Youthful
    Shari

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    1. Thank you Shari! The kids make it so easy - I always leave with tons of photos. The hard part is selecting just a few.

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  20. Hi Emily - Yuletide at the Orphanage - a wonderful way to help them enjoy themselves ... I enjoy days where I can help others - special days I guess Christmas, birthdays, Easter and summer days! Cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/z-is-for-zebra-zoo-and-zedland.html

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    1. I agree Hilary - those days are so fulfilling! Everyone benefits.

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  21. Lovely and inspirational way to spend the Christmas season.

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    1. It is such a wonderful time, Nilanjana.

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