Raquel Dueñas, our "Madre Teresa"

Raquel Dueñas

This is a tribute to the memory of one of our most dedicated and inspirational EARTHSPEAK local volunteers in the country of Ecuador.

Pedro and Raquel Dueñas were Rotarians for over 35 years. Raquel received the Paul Harris award for her work on behalf of the children of Ecuador. Pedro was nominated for the same award.

Raquel had had a special role in the Rotary. She worked to help organize the surgical missions of Rostros Felices, Interplast, and the speech work of EARTHSPEAK.

We fondly called Raquel the "Madre Teresa" of the children of Manabi province. Her dedication was unwavering and came from the heart. Many years ago, Raquel's son Pedro was killed in a tragic automobile accident just as an Interplast team arrived for their annual surgical visit. Pedro had been a longtime supporter of Interplast and often drove their supplies up from Guayaquil.

Raquel vowed she would continue to work to get help for children with cleft lip and palate, and she would do so in memory and honor of her son Pedro.

Each year, Interplast teams arrive in Portoviejo in late November or early December. All the team members purchase flowers and visit the graveside of Pedro to remember the dedication of this young man and his mother.

No matter what is needed or the hour it is needed, Raquel provided it. She spoke only Spanish. We speak only English. Yet the language of the heart can always be understood.