Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Adventures of Tamarita Rachel

What a GREAT journey we've had this week with Andrea!! I must say, although I don't know Andrea, I sure hope to stay in contact with, and follow Andrea's work! What a beautiful soul! 

Let's get to know her a bit before we share book information, pages, and ways to connect with you! Remember---scroll to the bottom for a GIVEAWAY! 

An Interview with Andrea!


 THanks for the questions... 

1Where did you get your inspiration for writing?

I got my inspiration for writing from living in Ecuador.  I am Briitish but I went to Ecuador to work as a doctor.  The amazing country, interesting people and fascinating customs I encountered form the basis for my writing.  

 3) What do you see in your future of writing?

I am currently working on a sequel to my Memoir about life in Ecuador.  I am planning a sequel to The Adventures of Tamarita Rachel too.  

  5) Are your Tamarita Rachel characters based on anyone?

Yes.  I have two daughters called Tamara and Emily and the adventures in the book are based on their real life story.  

 6) What lead you to Writing a book? 

When I had my daughter Tamara I was fascinated by the flood of old wives tales and querky advice I received from the Ecuadoreans surrounding me.  I started to note them down, and this lead to me writing my first book.  

7) Tell us a little about you... A) Did you always want to write?

I never thought of writing until family and friends encouraged me to write down some of the adventures I was having.  I discovered a love for writing and the power of a good story and have not stopped since.  

 😎 Do you have a family? 

Yes.  I am married to Vladimir who is Ecuadorean.  We have two daughters.  

C) Do you work besides being an author? 

Yes.  I am a medical missionary with Project Ecuador Charity.  I work in a village health centre and run a child sponsorship scheme so local childrean can attend school.  

D) What kind of hobbies do you enjoy? 

I love to sew.  My Granny taught me how to dress make and do embroidery.  I make clothes for my girls.  I also love swimming in the river at the bottom of our garden with my family.    

E) Do you have pets?

We have 2 Cocker Spaniels.  We also have chickens, tilapia fish and a turkey called Fiona.    

 F) What is the most embarrassing thing you have done/participated in? 

My most recent embarrasing moment was when my five year old (after reading The Twits by Roald Dahl together) pointed at a Sikh gentleman in the airport.  He had a flowing beard, as is their custom.  In The Twits Mr Twit has a disgusting beard, so my daughter pointed at the gentleman and said in a loud voice, "Look Mummy at that man with a beard.  Is he DISGUSTING!"  Result one very red faced Mummy.  

G) What is something humbling you have done and learned from? 

One of the most humbling things I have done is care for young women in the terminal stages of cancer.  Their great courage in the face of great suffering and loss is a constant inspiration.  They showed me true courage, fortitude and faith.  

H) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Living in Ecuador has made me live one day at a time because you literally do not know what a day may hold.... let alone next week.  People here do not plan ahead, and to survive here I have had to do likewise to a great extent.  That aside I would love to see myself with two accomplished, healthy, happy teeage daughters in ten years time.  

Silly fun: 1) You just won a million dollars- what do you do first? 

Throw a party to celebrate!  My 5 year old says she would buy the entire Pet Shop collection! 

2) You won a trip around the world, but you pick the destinations, where are you visiting and why? 

As a family we have a wish list of places we would like to go in our lifetime.... Machu Pichu Peru to see our heritage, Galapagos Islands here in Ecuador to see the wildlife, Australia and New Zealand to visit my relatives who live there, Prince Edward Island as I am a big Anne of Green Gables fan, and my girls want to go to Disneyland Paris.   

3) Its Halloween...people can find you dressed as?

A clown. 

 4) Morning person or night person? 

Night person. 

5) Favorite cold breakfast food?

Fruit and Fibre cereal 

 6) Authors have multiple personalities...what are some of yours, and how do they behave?

Little Miss Grumpy in the morning, Little Miss love silly games the messier the better, The Serious Doctor, The teacher-Mum.  

 7) Describe yourself using these letters ANDREA (yes, like the game in grade-school) 







😎 Favorite Drink (non-alcoholic for Kidtales) 

Mango juice 

9) Do you like to cook---if so what kinds of food...if not-what do you like to eat? 

Yes I like to cook.  I like prawn curry, baking cake, lasagna and barbequed fish. 

10) What is something unique about you? 

I have eaten guinea pig and armadillo. 

11) A genie granted you 3 wishes...what are they? 

To live near my UK family and in Ecuador at the same time!!!

To be ever patient. 

To see my family grown up and happy. 

12) What is your favorite quote in life?

"Sooner or later the one who wins is the one who thinks he can." 

If you could tell your childhood self some advice for the future-what would that be?

Never live with regrets.  Make the best decision you can at the time and then make the most of the results.  

One more small set

1) Favorite book? 

Beyond Ourselves by Catherine Marshall 

2) If you have to give a recommended classics reading list to teens...what would it contain? 

Anne of Green Gables, Swallows and Amazons, Biographies of Keith Green, Nicky Cruz, Jackie Pullinger, Dorothy L SAyers, The Chalet School.  

3) What are your go-to children's books to share with families?

Enid Blyton Faraway Tree, Roald Dahl, Little House on the Praire.

THANK YOU ANDREA! It was great getting to know you!!! 

----GIVEAWAY...For an e-copy of Andrea's book-if you could visit anywhere in the world to help others, where would it be and why? Leave a blog comment! Winner drawn Apeil 20, 2014 at 9pm eastern time.----

The Adventures of Tamarita Rachel

By Andrea Gardiner

ISBN 978-1492296782

Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, September 2013

88 pages

Available as a paperback and kindle version on amazon sites. 

About the Author

Andrea Gardiner is a medical missionary working in Ecuador. She grew up in Kent, UK, and studied medicine in Scotland. A visit to Ecuador during her University holidays inspired her to want to return when qualified as a doctor to help the poor. She returned to Ecuador as a doctor in 2005 and set up the charity based in Scotland, Project Ecuador in 2010. The charity runs a sponsorship scheme for children to be able to attend school, runs a health centre and a craft project. They also build housing for poor families.  She wrote about the work of the charity in her memoir, Guinea Pig For Breakfast.  

Andrea is married with two young daughters, Tamara and Emily.  Her daughters´ real life adventures are the inspiration for The Adventures of Tamarita Rachel.  

About the Book

Tamarita Rachel lives with her little sister Emily, her Mummy and her Papi among the banana plants in Ecuador.  Join her as she goes on her adventures; discovering iguana eggs, visiting Indians, helping little boys go to school, and lots more.  There is never a dull moment in these lively tales which are particularly suited for 4 – 8 year olds.   


“Andrea is a medical missionary in Ecuador.   Children will love the adventures in her book but they will also learn how different life is for children in poorer countries of the world. This is a well-managed introduction to the problems of such children and a sensitive taster for the issue of child sponsorship.”  Jennifer Rees Larcombe, author.

5 star Amazon Review

My 4 year old son was hooked on the get go with this book. Chapter 1 took him into a new world and he did not want to leave. Each chapter is fresh and exciting. I'm really pleased to have bought this book for my children.”  TrinityNova  


Web Resources

Charity website:



Free Resources to accompany the book (activity sheets and photos):

Chapter read aloud by the author:


The awesome book you must have in your home! Bringing values, education, and a new world connection! 


Sample Chapter from the book

Cristian and Miguel Go To School

Once upon a time in the clean white house amongst the banana plants Tamarita Rachel and little sister Emily woke up to find the sun was shining.  They ran outside and heard the birds chirping and cheeping in the trees.  Little sister Emily picked some pretty purple flowers and TamaritaRachel picked some beautiful yellow flowers and they carried them inside for Mummy to put in a vase on the kitchen table.  

“Oh, thank you girls,” Mummy exclaimed, when they handed her the flowers, they are really beautiful.  She put them in a vase and then they all sat down to eat their breakfast.  

“We are going to go shopping this morning girls,” Mummy informed them as they ate up their fried banana and sausages.  “So when you have finished your breakfast run and get dressed ready to go out to town.”  

Tamarita Rachel and little sister Emily bounced on their chairs in delight.  They loved shopping days.  They knew that if they were very good and helped put the shopping in the trolley carefully Mummy would look in her purse and give them a coin each to buy themselves a sweetie.  

They ate up their breakfasts quickly, then jumped down to wash their hands and faces and to brush their teeth.  TamaritaRachel put on a pretty pink skirt and a T shirt with a pony on it.  She did feel smart.  Little sister Emily wanted to put on her ballerina costume, so Mummy helped her into her purple leotard and pink leggings and little sister Emily pulled on her pink tutu all by herself.  

Next Mummy brushed their hair and put in dainty plaits, and at last they were ready to go.  The girls climbed into the pick-up truck and they were off, bumping along their track out to the main road.  

As they went along two little boys waved to them.  The boys lived in a ramshackle wooden house surrounded by a mud yard and lots of chickens pecking in the dirt.  They were dressed in rags and did not have any shoes on their feet.  Inside the house there was a baby crying, and their Mummy was washing clothes by hand out back.  

Tamarita Rachel and little sister Emily always waved to the boys when they went past.  They were very friendly.  They had an old, falling to bits bicycle that they were usually playing with on the track outside their house.  

“Mummy,” Tamarita Rachel began, “Why are those boys never at school?  Most children are in classes at this time of day aren´t they?”  

“That is a very good question Tamarita,” Mummy replied.  “We will stop and ask them when we are on our way back home again.”  

Tamarita Rachel and little sister Emily did enjoy the shopping trip.  They counted out the carrots into the bag; one, two, three, four, five.  Little sister Emily was getting good at counting now.  They added up how many bread rolls they would need for tea; one for Papi, one for Mummy, one for Tamarita Rachel and one for little sister Emily.  That made four altogether.  Tamarita Rachel was getting good at adding up now.  They chose some ripe red tomatoes and some green peppers, and found some cheese triangles and round biscuits.  There were so many things to look at and learn about.  Little sister Emily pointed them out to her doggy and asked him if he knew his colours yet?

The girls were a great help to Mummy.  When they arrived at the check-out Tamarita Rachel and little sister Emily wriggled and jiggled with excitement as Mummy opened her purse to give them each a coin.  Very excited they each chose a treat.  Tamarita Rachel chose a funny man who had chocolate hair you could eat.  Little sister Emily chose a purple meringue.  They laughed as Tamarita´s mouth became all chocolaty and Emily´s tongue turned purple.  

Soon they were on their way home again, the pick-up full of yummy things to eat.  They all felt very happy.  As they turned into the track to their house Tamarita Rachel remembered the boys they had seen that morning.  

“Don´t forget to stop and talk to the little boys,” she reminded Mummy.  

“Well remembered Tamarita Rachel,” congratulated Mummy, “Here they are now.”  

Mummy stopped the pick-up truck and they all climbed out.  

“Hello,” Tamarita Rachel greeted the boys, “What are your names?”

“I am Cristian and this is Miguel,” the older one replied.  

“I am Tamarita Rachel and this is my little sister Emily.”  Tamarita responded.  “How old are you?”  

“I am eight and Miguel is seven.”  Cristian replied.  

“Don´t you go to school?”  Tamarita Rachel asked.  

“No, our parents didn´t send us this year.  They did not have enough money to buy us shoes, or school bags or uniform.  So we could not go this year.”  

“Why don´t they have enough money?”  Tamarita asked perplexed.  

“Well, my Papi works in the banana fields, but some days he has work to do and other days there is no work, so he doesn´t earn anything.  Sometimes he can buy meat and rice, and sometimes we just eat eggs from our chickens and bananas from the garden.  There isn´t enough money left over to buy shoes as well.”  

“Is your Mummy there?”  Tamarita´s Mummy asked the boys.  

“Yes I will run and get her,” Miguel answered.  

The two Mummies talked while the children played.  Cristian showed Tamarita Rachel how to climb onto his battered bicycle and held on as she wobbled and tried to pedal.  Little sister Emily cried, “My turn, my turn,” so they let her sit on the bicycle too and pushed her along a little way.

Mummy came with her phone and took photos of the boys.  “Smile, smile, don´t look so serious,” she cajoled them, as they shyly looked at the camera.    

Then Mummy turned and said it was time to go, so they all said good-bye to each other and the girls climbed back into the pick-up truck.  The boys waved to the girls as they drove off, then turned back to their bicycle.  

“What did you say to their Mummy?”  Tamarita Rachel asked her Mummy.

“I was talking to her about finding sponsors for the boys so that they can go to school.”  Mummy explained.  

“What´s a sponsor?”  Tamarita Rachel wanted to know.  

“A sponsor is someone who sends money to pay for the boys´ shoes and uniform and books so that they can go to school.”  Mummy explained.  

“Who could be their sponsor?”  Tamarita Rachel screwed up her face as she tried to think of someone.  

“We can tell our friends and family in Britain about them, and maybe someone will want to help.”  Mummy answered.  

When they arrived home Mummy got out her phone and showed Tamarita Rachel and little sister Emily the photos she had taken of the boys.  “Now we shall write to AuntieMiri and tell her about the boys and send her the photos.  She will show them to other people in her church and school and see if anyone would like to help them.”  Mummy explained.  

A few days later Tamarita Rachel and little sister Emily were playing in the garden when Mummy called to them, “Girls come and see!  I have a reply from Auntie Miri.”  

The girls ran in excitedly and jumped up and down.  “What does it say? What does it say?”  They clamoured.  

“Auntie Miri says that a toddler group in a church want to sponsor Miguel, and that a family with a little boy want to sponsor Cristian.  That means the boys can go to school!”  

“Hurrah!” Tamarita Rachel and little sister Emily shouted.  “Let´s go and tell them right away!”  

When the boys saw the girls approaching they ran out to wave to them.  The girls climbed out of the pick-up truck and shouted, “We have good news!  You can go to school!”  

Mummy came up and explained to the boys´ Mummy.  “We have found sponsors for your boys so we can help you buythem shoes, school bags and uniform.  That means you will be able to send them to school.”  

“How can I ever thank you?”  The boys´ Mummy replied, with tears in her eyes.  “May God repay you, as I cannot.”  

“You are very welcome,”  Mummy smiled, “All we need you to do is to give us a copy of the boys´ school reports each term so that we can send them to their sponsors.  They will like to see how the boys are getting on at school.”  

“Of course I will give you their reports.”  The boys’ Mummy replied.  “Please thank them for us very, very much indeed.”  

A little while later Tamarita Rachel, little sister Emily and Mummy were driving out along the track in their pick-up truck.  They spotted Cristian and Miguel walking along ahead of them.  But this was a different Cristian and Miguel.  Now they were smartly dressed in white shirts and navy blue trousers.  They had white socks on and polished black shoes, and they were carrying backpacks with pens and books.  

As the girls caught the boys up, the boys stopped and waved.  “Look at us now!”  They cried.  “We are on our way to school and feel very smart!”  

“I am going to be a bus conductor when I am big,” Miguel smiled.  

“I want to be a mechanic,” Cristian laughed.  “We need to go to school to be able to get good jobs.  I don´t want to be like my Papi with no work and no money.”  

“Well done boys,” Mummy congratulated them.  “You are right, you need to study hard and learn lots so that one day you can have good jobs and help your Mummy and Papitoo.”  

“I want to be an ice-cream seller when I grow up.”  TamaritaRachel said to Emily.  “What do you want to be?”  

“I want to be a ballerina.”  Little sister Emily replied, fluffing her tutu.  

“I am sure you will be a very good ice-cream seller, and a very good ballerina.”  Mummy smiled.  “And I am sureCristian will be a very good mechanic and Miguel a great bus conductor.”  

And I am sure she was right, aren´t you?  


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