Skip to main content

Live Well Ecuador

A Unique Experience

Live Well Ecuador Home
Background
How it Works
Accomodation
Destinations snd Activiti
Staff Biography
Live Well Ecuador Tours
Contact Us
Ecuador Chronicles
Prayer Story
Alexander von Humboldt
Lee Blackwell - Bus to Gu
Casa Cultura III
Casa Cultura II: Eye of t
Casa Cultura I
S Winchester: Registrar
SWinchester: Little Piggy
Colonial Quito - Calle Fl
David Sass - Feed the Hun
David Sass - Graffiti
The Finca
I Love North Quito
Guayasamin Capllia del Ho
Guayasamin Archaeology &
Guayasamin Museum
Quito Cafe Grand Opening
Heroes II
Heroes
La Dolorosa
Parque Itchimbia
Quinceañera
Easter
Old Haciendas II
Old Haciendas
Quito - Studying Art
Eucalyptus
El Dorado II
El Dorado I
Galapagos II
Galapagos I
Laguna Cuicocha
Pilgrimage
Peguche Waterfall
S Winchester - Machaci
Amazing Grace
Condor Park
Dental - Implant
Dental - Root Canal and C
Cotopaxi: The Icy Ride Ba
David Sass: Quito Christm
Cotopaxi: Snowball Fight
David Sass: Staff of Lif
David Sass: Bye-Bye Chun
Shelley Winchester - Mari
Shelley Winchester - Mari
Ecuadorian Visits USA
David Sass: El Sur de Qu
Medical - Rotator Cuff
Medical - Going To The De
CUY
Shelley Winchester - Mark
Current Events 10/02/2010
Shelley Winchester - Dani
Shelley Winchester - Expa
Conocoto - Mayberry
Photos - Random Sierra
Photos - Random Quito
Photos - Montanita
Born To Be Wild
History Lesson - Garcia M
Water and Electricity
Renovation - 19th Century
Live Well Ecuador Quito O
Fourth of July Reflection
Quito Sunset Escape
Centro Cultural Mertopoli
Real Estate and the wild
Expat Life
Northern Sierra Trip II
Northern Sierra Trip I
Parque Ejido and Panecill
Guayaquil Easter Weeken
Quito - Good Friday
Riobamba Palm Sunday
Banos III Cool Hotel
Banos II Town & Springs
Banos I Taking The Bus
Quito Balconies
Bamboo Construction
Having Furniture Made
Two Haciendas
Quito Sunday Easy Riders
Religious Symbolism
Northern Sierra
The Widows - Men in Drag
New Year - Burning Dolls
Chronicles - 2009
San Marcos Church Story
Santa Clara Market
Culture and The Beatles
Tailor Made Suit
Quito Central Market
Quito - Two Resaurants
A Trip to the Beach
Quito - Old Shoes
Colonial Quito
Barber of Quito
Quito - La Ronda
Quito - Teleferico
Parque La Carolina
Art In The Park
Quito Apartment Renovatio
Quito Frame Shop
Road Trip I Quito - Pacto
Road Trip II To The Coast
Road TripIII Canoa Harley
Road Trip IV: Bahia
Road Trip V: Puerto Lopez
Road Trip VI: Cuenca
Road Trip Photo Encore I
Road Trip Photo Encore II
Road Trip Encore III
 
The Ecuador Chronicles - 2011-35
 
A Child Needs to Go to School
            A Grandmother Needs Help for Her Grandson;
                                    How to become a Citizen of Your Own country 
 
 
Here is another fascinating Chronicle from Shelley Winchester.  A child born in Ecuador needs to register for school - but first must become a citizen of Ecuador. 
 
by Shelley Winchester 

A Trip to the Registrar's Office

 

I am a very curious person by nature.  Perhaps that is why I find my summers as a volunteer at a children’s shelter in Quito so interesting because each summer I learn another unexpected detail of the culture.

 

Coming from the United States, I never thought much about children being unregistered as citizens.  In the United States children are born in hospitals and paperwork for birth certificates are filled out at that time.  This is not the case in Ecuador where many children are born at home.  In these circumstances the parents must take their children to the city registrar to log them into the archives.  For many children this doesn’t happen.  Unable to go to school, they become trapped in poverty with no chance of a bright future.

 

Last summer my work with Margoth Enriquez, a government social worker with whom I regularly work, took me to a poor section of north Quito called Llano Chico to register one such child so he could enroll in school in September.  Clever (a popular Ecuadorian name for boys) was one of five children born to an alcoholic mother, four of whom are now living with their 85-year old grandmother.  She washes clothes by hand to earn money in order to feed the children and does the best she can to be a loving caretaker and provide them with a home.  The oldest granddaughter, 15- year old Doris, works for $2 a day as a domestic helper to contribute as well. Doris has never had the opportunity to go to school. The smaller children had been in the shelter for a year before they were placed with the grandmother.  Margoth had previously registered them.  Eight-year old Clever, however, had always lived with his grandmother and never had the opportunity to be registered or go to school.

 

When we arrived at the house, Clever was at the washing center helping his grandmother scrub clothes on a stone slab.  He was shy and timid.  His life thus far had never been encompassed much beyond the walls of his home.  Margoth explained to the grandmother that we were taking to her and Clever to the registrar in order to get him logged into the archives as well as enroll him in school.  She got on her slippers and hat and we piled into the government vehicle to ride to the registrar’s office.

 

Margoth, Clever and his grandmother, and I entered a small office with a desk and a few chairs.  The registrar was an amiable man willing to let the grandmother register him despite the fact that she wasn’t his mother.  This only happened because the grandmother came with Margoth, a government worker with identification vouching for his relationship to her.

 

The registrar started the process by asking the boy’s name, age, and birthday.  Already a problem arose.  Clever needed more than a first and last name, he needed a middle name, something neither he nor his grandmother knew. Margoth said, “That’s okay.  We’ll just give him one.”  Then she turned to Clever and asked him what name he would like.  He had no idea.  I suggested my husband’s name in Spanish, José, and he thought that was good.  So he became Clever José. 

 

Then came the matter of his birthday.  We were guessing he was around eight years old, but without a birth certificate or the mother we really had no idea.  So his birthday became June 22nd, the day of the visit to the registrar’s office!  His Grandma signed the papers with a thumbprint as she can’t read or write.

 

As they were finishing the registration process, I walked across the street to get Clever some juice and cookies as a celebratory gesture.  Then we dropped Clever José and his grandmother off at their home.  I left Margoth in charge of the money necessary to provide him with shoes, a uniform, and school supplies so he could begin his education.

 

There are thousands of children like Clever in Quito.  Sometimes I feel like I am doing so little because there so many more children out there who need help.  In these times I recite to myself a famous quote by the British writer Sydney Smith:  “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little.”

 


Clever washing clothes


With his grandmother


His rubber boots are torn and the hole filled with newspaper


Clever in the room where they live


Grandma putting on her shoes and hat to go to town



The registrar's office


The registrar filling out the archives


The typewriter!


Margoth and the driver witnessing the documentation


Grandma's thumbprint; They returned in two weeks to pick up his Ecuadorian I.D. card so he could register for school

 

Shelley - Thank You

 

What an interesting story - dealing with major issues around something we normally take for granted.  It is wonderful that you were able to get this boy off to a good start for school through your organization Los Jovenes del Futuro.

The link to Shelley's Web site is below.  Take a look and think about making a contribution - I just made one myself.  It is easy.  And check out Shelley's other Chronicles.

 

Would You Like to Visit Ecuador for an Adventure of Your Own - Find Out How Here:

http://livewellecuador.com/default.aspx

 
Here is the Link to Shelley Winchester's Web Site - Los Jovenes del Futuro.  Take a look to learn more about Shelley's Work, and perhaps make a donation.