Jaimito: A Day in His Own Words

Jaime is 11 years old and lives in the La Prosperina neighborhood. He had the happy opportunity to be registered at Jesús es Amor Student Center about six years ago.

Jaimito, as many of his friends call him, is a very joyful, outgoing, obedient and disciplined child. He truly loves his parents and siblings, and most of all he has surrendered his heart to God.

family outside their homeJaime and his four siblings — Jesús (16), Jonathan (9), Allison (5) and Aarón (3) — live with their parents, Jaime and María, in the basement of a humble house. Jaimito’s grandma on his dad’s side gave the house to the family 16 years ago. It was once a warehouse full of old and useless stuff, but now it is Jaimito’s home.

Jaime’s father doesn’t have a steady job. He’s an artisan who makes plaster layers that are used in roofs in most houses on the coast. Currently, he works at a little artisanal factory. He makes U.S. $40 every week.

On the other hand, María, Jaime’s mother, doesn’t work. She does all the chores at home and takes care of her five children. She would love to find a job that would enable her to sustain her family too.

María graduated as a nurse’s helper a short while ago. She took a one-year course at a local institute.

Jaimito: A Day in His Own Words

boy brushing his teethNormally, I get up at 6:30 a.m. and get myself ready to go to the center. I wash my face, brush my teeth, and then have breakfast with my family.

My mom usually puts a cup of coffee and a piece of bread or some crackers on the table for each of us. Breakfast is the coolest time of the day because my entire family is there.

After that, I take my medicine — the one that the doctor prescribed. She’s the doctor from the center. She’s really kind and always treats me nicely. She also encourages me a lot. I know she will totally help me to get well soon.

I leave for the center around 8:30 a.m. Sometimes I just wear sports clothes to go there, but I always take my school uniform in a plastic bag. I go to school in the afternoon, you know?

I love spending time at the center because I get to share with my friends there.

First of all, we have a devotional and Sister Wendy directs the worship time. She’s my favorite tutor!

The other day, for example, we sang the song that I like the most: “Bueno es alabarte, Señor” (“It’s Good to Praise You, Lord”). I truly adore singing worship songs at the center.

After that, we take language or math classes. If we find any difficulty in our homework from school, our tutors help us with that and gently explain anything to us until we get it.

group of people gathering around boy kneading doughWe’re also learning to bake bread. Sister Wendy taught us how to mix the ingredients to prepare good dough. We made it and then we baked it. Our bread was delicious!

We’ve also learned a bit about electricity. The other day, I learned how to prevent short circuits. I learn about electricity at high school, too; actually, I love that subject.

Around 11:30 a.m, our tutors take us to the dining room and we have lunch. The food is always yummy! My favorite dish is rice, fried meat, beans and orange juice. I just love it!

Once my tummy is full, I quickly change into my school uniform and then take the bus to school. I go to Vicente Rocafuerte High, and I’m in 8th grade.

My classes start at 1 p.m. and end at 6:30 p.m. It’s a long afternoon.

I study subjects like language, math, science, English, electricity, pottery, social studies, sex education and physical education. My favorite subject is science. I’d like to become a doctor when I grow up and heal people — just like the doctors who are curing me now.

boys playing soccerAt recess time, I enjoy playing soccer with my friends. Soccer is my favorite activity in the whole world! I also play soccer on Saturday nights with my friends from the neighborhood.

I leave school at 6:30 p.m. and take a public bus home. It’s a one-hour ride so I get home at 7:30 p.m., change my clothes and eat dinner with my family.

Actually, my mom only cooks something like a main course when she has enough money to buy the ingredients. But if she doesn’t she just gives us a cinnamon infusion with a piece of bread or a green plantain omelet.

After dinner I do my homework. I normally stay up until 11 p.m. and then I get ready to go to bed.

three children sleeping in same bedI share the bed with my brothers, Jesús and Jonathan. The three of us are sponsored. Before going to bed, I pray first but usually I pray alone.

Every single night I pray for my sponsor, asking God to bless and protect him. I also thank God for giving me such an amazing sponsor who cares for me and my entire family. Then, I pray for my family too. I just want us to be always together.

Jaimito at Jesús es Amor Student Center

Six years ago, Jaimito’s father received a visit from the personnel at Jesús es Amor. They offered food, medical care, school supplies, uniforms, spiritual guidance and other benefits to Jaime and Jesús, who both happened to be the perfect ages to be registered at the child development center back then.

The family’s poor home, the lack of steady income, and consequently the lack of healthy and nutritious food, paradoxically, built the perfect environment for Jaime and his brother Jesús to be registered.

“The thing that motivated us the most to register our children was the spiritual guidance they were going to receive. We were not Christians before, but my husband always respected God.

“We have been through really hard times; there were nights when we went to bed with an empty stomach. But thanks to God, this center came to relieve our burdens as parents.”

The development center is open three days a week and provides all the children with good and nutritious meals (e.g., soup, main course, juice and fruit).

At the center Jaimito receives an annual medical screening, tutorials about language and math. He can use a computer to do his homework and surf the Web for any research for school, etc.

At the beginning of every school year, he receives new notebooks and a pair of shoes.

“This year, my Jaimito was about to be taken out of a class because he didn’t have his book of basic accounting. We didn’t buy it for him because we didn’t have the money (U.S. $11), but thank God the center met that need too,” says María.

Jaimito has received not only the normal benefits of the program but sometimes even beyond that. Sadly, he suffers from acute anemia and as a consequence has needed various medical screenings and treatments.

His prescriptions have included an iron supplement, B-complex vitamins, Ensure® supplements and anti-parasite pills. Eighty percent of his medical expenses are covered by the development center, 10 percent by the church, and the remaining 10 percent by his parents.

According to the center’s records, they have spent U.S.$135 in medical attention for Jaimito during the last two months.

A month ago, he was taken to the hospital and stayed there for three days. The center’s emotional and financial support was very important to Jaime and his family.

Although the center is doing its best to fight Jaime’s condition, some factors are holding him back from a full recovery, such as the difficulty of receiving healthy and nutritious meals at home.

To feed lunch to all of the children at the center, Jesús es Amor Student Center spends around U.S. $80 to $100 a day. It’s because of all this that Jaime’s parents are deeply grateful for the blessings they have received from God.

“I’d like to thank my child’s sponsor for his kind heart. I’m sure God will bless and protect him. No one has ever cared for my son like him.

“Besides the monthly contribution, he has also sent frequent special gifts to my child, almost on a monthly basis as well. We have used that extra money to buy food for the family, which is always needed. We always pray for him.”

Jesús es Amor Student Center is located in Guayaquil, a city on the coastal region of Ecuador. There are 289 children at the center and 224 are sponsored.

Children from La Prosperina neighborhood receive attention here. This is a very poor urban area on the northern zone of Guayaquil. Its 6,000 inhabitants have a low socio-economic status.

In La Prosperina people have serious difficulties finding jobs. The most common jobs are related to domestic service, factory work or construction. The unemployment rate reaches 40 percent.

It’s important to mention that around 70 percent of the children who live in this community have the opportunity to finish elementary school and high school. However, about 20 percent just don’t go to school.

The most typical health problems are malnutrition, malaria, dengue fever, skin rashes, respiratory infections, dehydration, parasites and infections of the urinary tract. Fortunately, there are two health centers within La Prosperina to give attention to emergency cases.

12 Comments |Add a comment

  1. annabelle January 31, 2011

    11 years old in 8th grade?? sounds like a smart kid!

  2. Vicki Small July 8, 2009

    This is a great story, told best by Jaimito, himself. I’m impressed with him! I am also in awe at the classes he takes in school, in the 8th grade! Kids can take in and learn so much more than our own education system gives them credit for.

    God bless Jaimito and his family, and please do a good work in his young body. Help him in his studies, so that he can always do his best toward fulfilling his dream, if his dream of becoming a doctor is in your plan for him, in Jesus’ name. Amen

  3. Juli Jarvis July 6, 2009

    I loved hearing this story in Jaimito’s own words! The photos are great too! Thank you for a special peek inside the life of a sponsored child!

  4. Mike Stephens July 6, 2009

    Jaime is right on the doctor’s at the projects are extremely nice!!!!!!! At least the one I met at PH-238 😉

  5. Dana July 6, 2009

    Thank you so much for bringing us Jaimito’s story! I sponsor a little boy in the same city, but a different project. He’s a few years younger but also suffers health problems. He has severe allergies that require daily medication and have sometimes required hospitalizations. I’ve often wondered how the family handles the medications but it’s good to know that Compassion is there to help out, esp. if he’s hospitalized.

    I love stories like this because they really give you an idea about what your child’s life might be like.

    What a long day Jaimito has.

  6. Jennifer Nunley July 6, 2009

    I love to read stories like these. I agree that they are my favorite. The details and glimpses that we get into their lives make sponsorship much more real. I would love to see more stories like this one. Thank you for all you do!

  7. Amber@thRunaMuck July 6, 2009

    Wonderful. Thank you.

  8. Lindy July 6, 2009

    I love this story because of the hope that this child and his family now have, and because of the way it shows us his beautiful heart for God!

  9. Dana Young July 6, 2009

    I loved reading this. I to wondered exactly what my child’s day was like and what they were learnng and an example of what a nutritious meal was. I pray my little girl has as tight a family as Jaimito does.

  10. Jill Foley July 6, 2009

    Thank you for sharing this story…these kinds of stories are, in my opinion, the best. It makes Compassion and their work real to me. I love “meeting” the children and families that are benefiting from Compassion’s programs!

  11. Amy Wallace July 6, 2009

    I loved this post! It’s nice to hear about Compassion from the perspective of one of the sponsored children 🙂

  12. Ken M. July 6, 2009

    Thank you for sharing your story, Jaimito (with the help of Cecilia). I love seeing the workings of Compassion through a child’s eyes. This makes it more real for me. Sometimes I imagine the ways my sponsored children spend a typical day. How long are they at the center? How does the center assist them? What are the activities offered to them? Do they enjoy going? Although my children (or the correspondence monitor) have answered some of these questions in their letters, this has given me a deeper understanding. Thank you and may God continue to watch over you and your family. May God bless you and your brothers to grow up strong in him: full of wisdom, love, peace, joy. Thanks again.

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