January 2012 — Winter season came to Ecuador bringing torrential rains and suffocating waves of heat. However, the radical weather patterns were not enough to deter the FFL volunteers from Guayaquil, Ecuador. Taking time out from their busy family lives and business, the volunteers consistently devote time to the service others.
Over 500 people were waiting in the town of El Consuelo to experience the prasadam from Food for Life. The journey there from the FFL kitchen in Guayaquil takes almost two hours. Nonetheless, the volunteers enjoyed the spectacular scenery, watching the dramatic landscapes unfold before them, bedecked with flowers of all colors and lush green vegetation responding to the winter rainfalls. The journey took a little longer than anticipated and so some of the families went home. However, the FFL team immediately went to community leaders to announce from house to house of their arrival. Making use of the bells of a beautiful church, a large crowd once again gathered for lunch! Buckets of delicious vegan rice and lentil stew, pastries and herbal teas were being passed children and adults. The smiles and words of praise kept coming and mental images will last in our memory forever.
The following week, hundreds of others were the beneficiaries of a traditional vegan rice and lentil stew, fried sweets, and aromatic teas, prepared just hours before by a group of enthusiastic FFL volunteers.
Many members of the community and of other organisations join the FFL Ecuador team each week for the experience of distributing free vegan lunches. Some weeks, due to budget constraints, the FFL Ecuador team is only able to feed 300 people, but the joy of helping even a few people with a warm plate of food prepared with love is amazing! Our small gesture of kindness, melts the hearts of everyone and soon their love comes back to use in the form of hugs, laughter and finally running after our car as we try to leave!
Recently, the Addictions Rehabilitation Centre (ACE prison) was chosen as the place to serve our vegan meals. With the help of volunteer Jimmy Cassinelli, we were welcomed by the authorities and inmates of the place. This time, FFL cooks made a special menu of delicious fried rice with an equally rich chili sauce and aromatic drinks. At least 50 inmates enjoyed the experience of pure food made with love.
Information for this report and photos provided by Gopi Gandharvica
To learn more about FFL in Ecuador, see their FFL Ecuador Facebook page