Adventures in Ecuador

This post will highlight the adventures Big Ocean delegates had while traveling to Quito, Ecuador for the UN Habitat 3 Conference October 2016. Many women contributed comments to this article via Facebook, text message, conversation, camera, etc. Enjoy!


Brittany: My sister Dana is en route to Quito, Ecuador to attend Habitat III, the United Nations conference on housing and sustainable urban development. She is traveling with a group of maternal feminists from Big Ocean Women (named for the idea that we’re all waves in one big ocean), who will represent women of faith and attempt to influence the global policies which will affect our world for the next 20 years! No pressure, right?! Please pray for them!

“Big Ocean is attending to better understand the global discussion and inform themselves of current trends, as well as to share their message that women of faith who embrace family and motherhood are the most critical change agents in the world and can greatly impact communities, cities, and the world for good,” – Carolina Allen, founder of Big Ocean Women


Carolina, Big Ocean Delegation for Quito Habitat 3 UPDATE:
We have our official delegation preparing to leave for one of the biggest world conferences and events EVER! It is a United Nations landmark event that dictates the next 20 years of international soft law related to family, cities, urban development and sustainability.

Big Ocean Women will represent faith, family, and motherhood at the international level, as well as directly aid in humanitarian efforts with our partnered Days For Girls and Choice Humanitarian organizations while they are there. This will be a very difficult trip for them, so please include them in your prayers!!


13237765_1736822463266980_6509108979600285626_nDana, a few weeks before the trip: If you’ve got 1 minute and $6, I’d love to get your help preparing Days for Girls kits to take on a trip to Ecuador next month. I’ve been invited to participate in the UN’s Habitat III Conference Oct 17-20 with Big Ocean Women. Prior to the conference we are traveling to different schools to provide feminine hygiene kits to help girls stay in school. We’ll also get the opportunity to educate them and their mothers about everything from hygiene, their menstrual cycle, to self defense and human trafficking.

We have to prepare 700 kits (and pray that we get a baggage waiver to get them all there!) in less than a month. All the materials have been prepped, we now just need donations of girls underwear and helping hands to get the kits assembled. If you are willing, we’d love to have you donate purchase through this Amazon wish list:

http://smile.amazon.com/…/…/2S9SGIGRF6TDA/ref=topnav_lists_2

And if you’re interested in joining us to put the kits together, let me know and I can get you the details when the time and location is set up. Thank you so much!


Kim, before trip: 

****mushy love post****

11 hours until I am sitting on a plane heading to Quito Ecuador. 🇪🇨

So what do I do with my last few hours…. I go on a picnic with the love of my life, my number one supporter, and my rock.

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One of the things that I absolutely LOVE about Big Ocean Women are the tenets. As a very independent women I value the innate power that we as women hold. In addition to this knowledge I have been developing a personal beliefe in the goodness of men. In fact the 8th tenet of Big Ocean Women goes like this: “We value the irreplaceable role of fathers and build interdependent relationships with men”.

So to my irreplaceable man, Allen I love you!!! The encouragement you give me and the support you offer are unparalleled. I love being a feminist. But more than anything I love that under the umbrella of Maternal Feminism I can be strong and independent and still weak at the knees as I stare at your reflection in the Ipad as we spend these last few hours watching a movie at the park!

Thank you for your support and love!!!


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Dana: It’s time to get this baby packed. In just under 14 hours I’ll be heading to the airport.

Looking at this suitcase, I’m thinking it’s probably time to get a new one. I mean, it was a high school graduation gift from my parents. . . 20 years ago! I pulled it out to get packed and started reminiscing on some adventures. Hawaii right after graduation (my first flight). All my college experiences. Across the Atlantic and to my mission in London. Then again when I travelled to South Africa (flying for the first time by myself). On various adventures across the country over the last ten years. And now on a trip to Ecuador where I’ll be joining some amazing women from #bigoceanwomen. When I think about all that it has carried for me, and all that I’ve been able to experience, how can I replace it?? I might have to duct tape it in a couple areas, but I think we’re good for at least one more adventure together!


Dana: Missing these guys already. My greatest support team ever. Yesterday they were champions helping me pack, clean the house, and cheer me on through the stress. It may have helped that I promised ice cream and a movie at the end of the day, but they pulled through and won’t have to hear me bossing them around for a while. #familycapital

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Habitat III Update: They arrived safely yesterday in Ibarra, Ecuador. 🇪🇨 They were Greeted at 2:00 am with rolls, cheese, and herb tea. To bed at 4:30 and up at 5:30, on the road at 6:30! They are tired women, but excited to start the event in a few days! Until then, there’s lots coming up with our humanitarian services in Ecuador.

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Kim: I am coming to you in need of your prayers.

We have had 14 bags (both personal and humanitarian) confiscated at the airport by the government of Ecuador (they said they found “seeds” in our bags . . . whatever). We have two more Days for Girls events tomorrow and can’t hold them without the additional gear. Please pray that their hearts will be softened and that our gear will be released.

Secondly, we called our Quito hotel today and found that they have no record of our reservation and cannot take us. With a world policy conference taking over the city, we are in need of your help. Does ANYONE have any contacts in/near Quito that we could use for housing? We need to find accommodations for 8 ladies this Sunday-Thursday. Please PM me ASAP if you know of anything.

It’s time to pray rain!
Thanking God for the incredible miracles that are already on their way!


Dana: It’s been a whirlwind of a couple days, living without sleep, lots of driving, and some seriously good Ecuadorian cuisine. Many blessings and incredible experiences like the personal drivers and nice accommodations in Ibarra, beautiful scenery, and the opportunity to meet warm, affectionate women and girls.

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Yet as forewarned, you can’t travel to a developing country without experiencing a few challenges. For one, we each checked three bags of humanitarian supplies. 14 did not make it on our flight. They arrived the following night but are now being held in customs with the claim that they have unlawful content. Right. Like diapers for earthquake victims. And feminine hygiene kits.

Then. We find out our accommodations in Quito from Sunday thru Thursday are no longer available. We reserved them well in advance but someone with cash probably showed up at the hotel and had a little sway. With over 30,000 people arriving for this Habitat conference, there are no rooms left.

But. What happens when you get a room of women together connecting with all their contacts and wifi? Miracles. We have prayers being said, a network being reached, calls being made, and we have faith that everything will work out. Because we are supposed to be here. We have a work to do and no opposition is going to stop us.

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Amanda: Sometimes when things fall apart, you stay up late with some of your delegation cohorts, ask the Latin concierge to bring you a midnight snack and enjoy serving after serving of croissants and jam (he REALLY likes us), as you laugh hysterically while making every contact possible from your joint networks to resolve some of your unexpected developing country issues.

Cheap therapy of the best variety.
Love these ladies.

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Kim: Hey friends. Thank you so much for all your help and prayers. We are waiting to hear back from some contacts in the morning. We continue to pray and ask for your continued faith in this effort. We know that God is in charge and is working some amazing…unseen…miracles. We know that things will work out and are excited to see how it will happen.

We are headed to bed but will update you again in the morning.


Amanda: Thanks to the help of so many generous friends, we found a place to stay. I can’t even tell you what a miracle that is. I feel similar to how Joseph may have felt after being told there was “no room” when trying to find lodging for his family during the census. Now I feel ready to have this proverbial baby and do what we came here to do.
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Dana: Update! We went from zero options to multiple, and get to choose between staying with someone at the embassy or someone in the Quito north mission presidency. We are feeling blessed. Either accommodation can fit all 11 of us and both are a better option than the hotel!


Amanda: We are in between sessions at Habitat III so I only have a few minutes. Here’s a quick update:

– Miracles fell into place and ALL of our bags have been handed over from the Ecuador police. There were so many angels sent to us to make that happen, including the Ecuador baggage security worker that said “Are you ready?” the minute we walked in the office (we hadn’t even identified ourselves). Pretty incredible.

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– Our housing is amazing! Nedy De Ayala is totally spoiling us! So grateful to Sue Richardson and Charlotte Bjarnason for the contact. We are so grateful!

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– We found out yesterday that our U.N. Habitat event was accepted (we never received notification) and so we are on the schedule! And I found out this morning that I will be moderating the event. So excited! We have three very diverse and gifted panelists that will be fascinating to learn from. Can’t wait!

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– After four hours of waiting in line with the rest of the world (quite literally), we all received our badges! It’s go time! For the next four days, Jillaire and I will be involved in policy work. Oh the ideas we are hearing. Fascinating.

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Please continue to keep us in your prayers! Love you all!


Kim: The adventure continues for our Habitat III delegation! After five days our bags were finally released from customs.

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But (maybe unsurprisingly) the van most of us were riding in overheated and we were stranded on the side of the freeway. Literally in the middle of our prayer for help a taxi pulled up, with a second one close behind. Because guess what?!? God is good and we are unstoppable. Our message needs to be shared.

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