On Sundays we relax, maybe go into town (or out of town for an excursion), and those who wish may go to a church service. Sometimes we hold a service ourselves on the hotel grounds. Often, there are volunteers from an evangelical church nearby who have been helping us all week with food and logistics, and we’ve become friends with them and attend their church. Or, we have the option to attend a Catholic service.
Sorry no photos of evangelical churches. I have photos of the insides of a few of them where we’ve set up clinics, but these churches tend to be low-budget—and only the posters inside or the signs over the doors outside can distinguish them from a house, an apartment, or even a barn. Often they are based in the back yard of the pastor’s home.
The Catholic churches are always a work of architecture, even in a small town, and always adjacent to the town square. One of the things I love about Ecuador is their city planning: the downtown will be laid out as a grid with a beautiful park at the very center. Across the street on one side will be a church, and along another street usually municipal buildings and also shops.
It’s better than going to the mall! It’s a very clean, safe area for all ages and on weekends—besides church services—there may be celebrations, or outdoor markets on Saturdays.
But here are a few typical churches from previous years:
[liveblogging edit: I’ve added a few photos of the Catholic church here in Salcedo, across the street from our hotel. A few of us attended service this morning.]