Francisco Omero Ayuy Sharupi, 23 years ago , was born to an elderly Shuar father with a much younger wife. When he was 5 years old his mother gave birth to identical twins—Adolfo and Roberto. Nine months later she vanished from home—abandoning Francisco and his little twin brothers. For the next five years the lives of the boys was very difficult. Their elderly father was not a good provider and they often went hungry—-foraging in the jungle for roots, berries and fruit to eat. They would sometimes dig through the food the neighbors would throw away and were usually beaten by the neighbors as a result. When Francisco was 8 years old, he was taken by an older sister to the town of Puyo at the edge of the jungle where another sister was living. She was pregnant, but unmarried and unable to offer any care to her younger brother. So, in the dark of the night, Francisco was handed over to a family from the mountains and taken to their farm where he was treated no better than a slave. After several years he escaped from that bondage only to be treated worse at the next place he sought refuge. He ultimately found his way back to the jungle and it is there that through his brother Roberto he came to live at El Dulce Refugio. At El Dulce Refugio, Francisco found what he longed for: love, acceptance and a “family.” After spending a year in the army, he married and established a family of his own. He will always be a part of our family.
Christian was born in Colombia. His father worked in the cocaine industry. While just a baby, his mother was taken to the side of the river and a bullet put in her head by guerrillas–with his father’s agreement. Severely abused by his father and with scars on his head from being struck many times by a machete, he walked across the border into Ecuador at the age of 8. For the next 4 years he lived on the street or in facilities for street kids before finally arriving at El Dulce Refugio at the age of 12. His given names are “Diego Apolinar” but while in another home for children there were 3 other “Diego’s” and so he began going by the nickname, “Christian.” He has lost contact with his sister who is somewhere in Quito. She was badly burned when their father poured gasoline on her and lit a match! We are praying that one day she will be found and they will be able to be reacquainted again. He currently is working in a shop in the neighboring city of Ambato that makes aluminum windows and doors. He wants to finish his high school education and is seeking God’s will for the rest of his life.
Roberto Carlos and Adolfo Andres
Roberto Carlos and Adolfo Andres are “gemelos” (identical twins) of Shuar tribe ancestry. Francisco is their older brother. They were abandoned by their mother shortly after their birth and their father died when they were 5. At that point they were separated–Roberto going to live with a mestizo family in the town of Puyo and Adolfo living with an older half-brother and his family at the edge of the jungle. The twins did not see each other for the next 5 years–connecting again only after Adolfo came to live with us in the town of Shell–before we began the construction of El Dulce Refugio. Not only had they lost their parents, but they lost their connection to their cultural heritage as part of the Shuar tribe of the Amazon. They were born in an area where mostly Spanish was spoken, and the only tribal identity was Quichua.
“Andres”: Adolfo hadn’t lived with us for very long when an Ecuadorian told him that he had the same name as Hitler, and then told him about Hitler and his atrocities. After this scenario was later repeated several times by other persons lacking common sense, he told me sadly, “I used to like my name.” By his decision and request he now goes by the name of “Andres.” Starting at age 10 with no schooling he is now in the final years of high school by extension. He “caught up” through home school study. He understands and speaks English, has studied classical guitar, is taking up saxophone and violin, is a wonderful dedicated Christian young man and a real blessing to have as a “son.” His desire is to share the gospel with his family and others still living in the jungle.
Roberto was introduced to the Lord by his brother Andres while they were together visiting their family members in the jungle. Coming from virtually
total ignorance to a strong faith in Christ, Roberto wants to spend his life sharing the Gospel with people that have never heard the Good News. He is also finishing his high school education by extension. He has studied and plays acoustic and electric guitar and is forming a praise band with other young men of Baños. He is already a part of a worship team, preaches and has a great call of God on his life.
Came to live with us when he was 12 1/2 years old although when he came we did not know his age. His mother did not know the month or even the year in which he was born. His birthday was lost to her memory because of traumatic events that she had been through. We were not sure we would ever know his birthday but after a couple of years living with us his birth date was uncovered. He is from Manta–a city on the coast. His mother and some half-brothers and sisters live there in abject poverty and his mother wanted something better for him than she could offer him and he was starting to roam the streets of Manta. He has never known his father. He is at a pivotal point in his life and needs a lot of prayer. He is not motivated to study further, but we are going to encourage him in this and try to help him find his way into the adult world.