SAINT AUGUSTINE – Pilot Club member Consuelo Lippi has returned to St. Augustine from her native Ecuador where she delivered a computer, a gift from the local club.
For a number of years, local Pilots have supported the Laura Vicuna Orphanage in Quito, Ecuador, with the most recent gift being a nearly $1,000 donation to purchase a computer and necessary equipment for its use.
Lippi’s brother, Patricio, and sister, Marta, residents of Ecuador, assisted Consuelo with the installation.
“Because Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar and there is a lot of counterfeiting of bills,” Consuelo explains, “paying cash for an item like a computer is complicated. I had to write down every serial number from each bill, as well as leave my passport and number of each $100 bill, ” as well as photos of the bills.
The process of purchasing and installing the computer was a day-long project, she adds, and she and her siblings didn’t arrive at the orphanage until 9 p.m. “The girls were in pajamas, but waiting….They always ask when the other Pilot members will be coming to visit. They do not understand distances and international travel.”
In the late 1990s, Consuleo recalls, the military air base in Ecuador provided a plane ride for the children to visit the beach. The St. Augustine club purchased swim wear for the children, who were so excited to experiencing a plane ride that one child remarked that the children would “be up in the clouds and we’re going to see God!”
This is the third computer the local club has purchased for the orphanage. Longtime support for the facility has ranged from purchase of two washing machines and funding to build an indoor laundry room to beds and blankets, a refrigerator and even construction of a dog house for the orphanage’s dog.