Arbolito

Construction of the Arbolito Community house began in 2002 under the supervision of past director Alan Lynch, and was completed in August of 2003. As of 2005, Arbolito became the home of Rostro de Cristo’s second retreat house, which serves 12 groups a year. Arbolito itself started as an invasion, meaning people built their houses on unclaimed land. From all across Ecuador, different people have come to Arbolito hoping to find work in Durán and Guayaquil. As a result Arbolito has become a huge mix of different regional backgrounds. Most of the citizens of Arbolito come from two provinces in Ecuador: Esmereldas and Loja. The people of these provinces give Arbolito a bigger population of African Ecuadorians and Indigenous people than other neighborhoods in Durán. Over the past 10 years, Arbolito has grown into a rather large community of near 12,000 people located on the northern outskirts of Durán. With limited phone lines, frequent power outages, and severe flooding in the rainy season Arbolito is still developing as a community.

A huge part of Rostro de Cristo’s present involvement in Arbolito lies at the John Drury Technical School, where Semillas de Mostaza is held in the afternoon.  Volunteers are also involved with the local church, the local hospital clinic, local nursery school, and soup kitchen.

The local soup kitchen, Casa de Misericordia, is the only alternative food option for the many families in Arbolito. Nearly eighty percent of the recipients of this service are children and elderly individuals. Like other soup kitchens in Durán, this service was funded by the government, but due to cut backs in funding is now funded by donations. The soup kitchen attempts to be open everyday, however many days there is no food. It is staffed by one full time director and three workers.

There is a strong desire for community improvement projects from various members of the Arbolito community including a plan for a future casa communal (a community building) with a surrounding park and soccer court. Their also is a presence of the local church youth group, Nueva Generacion (new generation) helping out with various community and parish related fundraising and projects.