Friday, December 10, 2010

4 months in site and half a year in Ecuador...Man how time flies.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Finally, I busy week!

Last weekend I went to Buenos Aires (not Agentina) for a weekend with my host family. My host mother is from there and it is a beautiful town with a primary forest. The town does not get cell phone service so there are public phones that when anyone gets a call it is announced to the whole town that you have a call. In Buenos Aires I went to the Paramo which is the mountains above tree line. We went to a man made lake and went fishing for trout. It was a beautiful day that ended with a 5 hour hike back to town.

Now, the last week Cahuasqui has been really busy. Tuesday and Thursday I went around with the health center staff to all the smller barrios (La Florida [only 8 families], Pugaran, Wuanibuela and San Francisco) around Cahuaqui (still part of Cahuasqui) and gave Rabis vaccinations over 300 dogs and cats!! The vaccinations are paid for by the government because Rabis has been a huge health issue. It was so much fun and I actually got to give some of them. One of the towns was a 2 hour drive away and only has about 8 families (50 or so people). The towns are so beautiful and I am thinking about trying to so some work there because no other volunteers have and there are definate needs in these communities.

Also, on Thursday I gave my first lesson (Charla) to the whole high school (around 100 people). I gave it on self-esteem and I would say over all is went well. I know the director of the high school was pleased and then students seemed to have a good time...I just hoped they learned something!

I miss the USA, but then when I am in a bus driving in Ecuador and by barley turning my head can see three volcanoes (two snow covered) I miss the USA a little less.


Friday, August 27, 2010

First Week in Cahuasqui

This is where I am going to be living for the next two years of my life.

I have now been at my site for one week and things have been, well, slow. Schools are on vacation so I can not meet with the high school students and trying to integrate into a community with no structure is harder than I imagined. However, that is not to say that I have not been trying nor that I have not been integrating and found some success.

With little structure I make it a point each day in the morning, afternoon and night to pasear (to walk around aimlessly). While this usually results in countless salutation and simply getting my face out into the community, it has also lead me to some great experiences. For instance, the other day I was walking around down by the farms and a man called me over. "A donde vas?", he asked. Where are you going? When I told him I had no idea, he laughed and then called over his younger sister who brought me 10 tomatoes. She then asked what I was doing today and when again I said I had no idea, they invited me to pick and collect tomatoes with them on their farm. With little else to do and a desire to integrate into this agrcultural community, I said I would love to. We collected tomatoes until lunch when I was invited to go back to their house to eat. I ate rooster meat from the campo, which was delicious and then we all headed back to collect more tomatoes until 4pm. I think they tought my tomoatoe collecting skills (or free labor) was so good that they invited my back the next time the collect!

Here is one more story that I find to be a funny cultural experience here in Ecuador. I went to play soccer on wednesday with some of the kids in the community, but the field was being used by the All-Mother Cahuasqui team practicing before their big game on Friday. They play against other mothers from surrounding pueblos. I was lucky enough to be able to play with them and it was a blast. However, about 45 minuutes into the game I was passed the ball from our goalie and then looked around for my team. Teams were made of 6 played each and I could not find any our offensive players. That was until I looked at the sideline and saw both of our offenders breast-feeding their kids on the sideline. Oh Ecuador....

Other than that I have been eating a lot of carbs and walking around aimlessly. However, I hope these walks will create new and interesting stories I can soon share with you all. I hope all is going well in the US of A.

Peace and Love
Central Plaze and church in Cahuasqui. A rooster and me. This here rooster is going to be in a cock fight this sunday. Wish `em luck!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

One Week Left...

OF TRAINING! I am back from my site visit, I just got back from my technical trip and I now have just one week left of training. I am very excited to be finishing up training, sad to be leaving my Ayoran family and definitly starting to get nervous about living for 2 years in an Ecuadorian community and training to do something positive and worthwhile. However, it is also possibly the only time in my life where I will be my own boss and have endless options.

My site visit was unbelievable, I met the volunteer who will be leaving in August, I met a volunteer who moved to Cahuasqui 3 months ago, and I met my counterparts at the tourism agency, the principle at the high school and the doctor and nurse at the community health center. Through these initial contacts, I have already identified numerous possible options for work. Now the goal is to find the place where my passion intersects with the community's needs.
For the technical trip I was lucky enough to go to the coast of Ecuador for my first time. We went to Guayaquil (the biggest city in Ecuador), Salinas (a touristy beach town), Las Playas (a not so touristy beach town) and a small city called La Libertad. I traveled there with seven other volunteers and three facilitators. In each place, we gave charlas (educative talks) about self-esteem, good communication and sex-ed to high school classes and youth groups. It was very tiring, but also very fun. It felt good to actually be doing something instead of training all day.

Now, I am going to attempt to upload some photos...ENJOY!

The dairy factory my host family owns.

Volcanoe Cayambe. This is what I see everyday when the sun rises during aerobics class. AMAZING!

My little brother, Angelito, and me with a big pig!

More pictures to come later. I miss and love you all.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Site Assignment

Here is the moment I, and possible you, have been waiting for. Last Friday I found out that in one month I will be spending the next two years of my life in a town of 1,800 people called Cahuasquí. The town is also called ¨La Isla in El Cielo¨ because the village sits on a plateau which drops off on the sides. I will be following two other volunteers who worked on a community park and a garden for the local high school. For now, besides those two projects the rest depends on the community and what they identify as potential projects. As my main assingment is to work with youth and families I will be focusing on those two groups while interviewing the community on their needs.

I will be going to Cahuasquí tomorrow (Tuesday July, 19) for a 5 day site visit. I have already spoken to my Ecuadorian counterparts who work at the high school, my host mother, and the other volunteer who is currently at the sitr and about to finish his two years of service. Please look for into Cahuasqui and tell me what you think!!

Other than that, my days have been fairly regular. Here is my daily schedule:

4:45 - Wake-up
5:15-6:15 - Aerobics class with my aunts and 35 other women
6:30 - 7:30 - Shower and eat breakfast
8:00 - 12:30 Spanish or technical training class
12:30 - 13:30 - Lunch
13:30 - 17:00 Spanish or technical training class
17:00 - 20:00 Hanging out with my host family, having a cafecito and eating dinner
20:30 - Bed

Hope all is well at home, I miss everyone dearly and will write again after my site visit. Thanks for the posts, keep em coming,


Wednesday, June 30, 2010


So, this past month has been a long party in Cayambe for San Pedro. The party as celebrates the native people of Ecuador. Last night as I am walking back to my house with my 14 year old brother we see about 20 people outside my house. Four or five of them are playing guitar and the rest are dancing. As we open the door to the house they all crowd in, push the coffee table and sofa to the side and start to dance and party in the house. I felt like I was in high school having a party at my house (not like I ever did) and felt like I was going to get in trouble with my mother.

I had my brother run over and get her and fix the situation. When I finally get outside I see my mother has bought the group a case of beer and is passing around a glass of beer to the party. She explained to me that the people coming into the house was a tradition and was no problem...dodged one there. After speaking with my mother I had no choice but to join in the dancing, singing and a little drinking (it was a school night) and had a blast.

Although I have only lived here about 2 weeks I find that the people I have encountered in Ecuador are living for the now and not that tomorrow or the ten years from now. Most people I have met have rarely left their province and only one or two have ever left Ecuador, but talking to them they are happy. Again, I try not to generalize and realize the serious problems facing Ecuador, but in the same light have to recognize the joy the people I have met get from dancing all night with family and friends.

So, next time you have a gathering, don´t be afraid to turn on a little music, pass around un vaso of beer and just let your feet do the rest.

I love and continue to miss you all. Stay tuned as I hope to get some pictures up soon!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day One in Ayora

6/19/2010 - I have arrived in the town where I will be spending the next 9 weeks. It is a smaller town outside of the city of Cayambe and is called Ayora. The town is exactly what as I was hoping for and my host family is everything I could have imgined. My direct host family consists of a mother, father and two boys, 14 and 4 years old. However, in Ecuador, families continue to live together or near eachother their entire lives so that aso means my host family has grandparents, aunts, uncles, and many nieces and nephews. My family owns a dairy factory and makes amazing cheese and yogurt.

I arrived in town at 1pm and by 2pm I was already invited to a family party to celebrate the confirmation of a family friends son. The party was incredible. The party started by everyone sitting around the edge of one large room listening to Ecuadorian music. Then we had a champagne toast and then the food came. The meal started with a delicious soup, which honeslty was enough for the meal, but then the plate of food came out. It was the BIGGEST plate of food I have ever seen. Potatoes, rice, salad and three different kinds of meat. A large piece of pork, a whole breast of chicken and an enormous portion of Cui. What is Cui you ask? Guinea Pig...YUM! I had to try it...and I didn't really like it.

After barely putting a dent into my plate bags were sent around and everyone put their platic plate of food into to take home to eat for what must be the next week. After dinner the music was turned up a bit and the alcohol came out. Pitchers were made of whisky or rum combined with water with gas. One pitcher and one glass to be shared by all. I went around the room and pored a small amount into the glass for one person to drink. I don't think those pitchers were ever empty for the next 8 hours. After the drinks went around everyone danced for as long as the pitchers were full and circling the room.

I had an amazing time, felt like I was immediatly part of the family and I get to say that I have tried Guinea Pig. It was the perfect first day and I cannot wait for another day. I hope all is going well at home and I miss you all dearly.

Peace and Love

Friday, June 18, 2010


6/16/2010 - I HAVE MADE IT TO ECUADOR. Yestday, Tuesday, I met with sll of the other volunteers in Washington DC for what the Peace Corps calls staging. They crammed in a bunch of information from 12pm until 7pm. Other tiring, it was so much fun being able to meet the other volunteers.

I really love the idea that all of us volunteers have come from completly different regions of the US, different backgrounds and different interests, but we all ended up being assigned to Peace Corps Ecuador.

Today, Wednesday, has been a very long day of traveling. We woke up at 5am to get to the DC airport early because there arearound 64 of us that had to check out baggage. We flew from DC to Miami and then from Miami to Quito. Similar to the boring aspects of staging, the negative aspects of flying were made better by getting to meet and talk to other volunteers. I have not met all of the volunteers yet, but everyone I have met has been incredibly friendly, funny and good to talk to.

Right now I am staying with the other Youth and Family volunteers at a hostel in Quito listening to some music in a room shared with two other volunteers. Driving through Quito, hearing spanish, and eating a delicious meal of chicken, rice and salad have all confirmed and reconfirmed my decision to join the Peace Corps and make the trip down here.

Alright, I am off to bed to wake up at 6am for a long day of paperwork and medical screening and shots. I miss you all at home (especially Maia my dog), but all is well. Keep me posted about life at home and I will keep you all posted about my life in Ecuador.

Peace and Love

Monday, June 14, 2010

All my bags are packed....

Alright, here we go. This is my first post ever on a blog, so bare with me. Tomorrow I am getting on a 9am flight to head down to Washington DC. where I will be for one day getting introduced to 'what is the Peace Corps?'. Then, on Wednesday, I will be starting the segment of my life that could generally be called "Ecuador". I will be training to work with at-risk youth and families for 9 weeks in or around a town in the Sierra (Highlands) of Ecuador called Cayambe. If my training goes well then I will be sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer and assigned a post elsewhere in Ecuador for 2 years.

I have said countless goodbyes and given so many hugs and kisses that it is now time to get on the plane and start "makin' moves" (MTMIII). After packing and repacking, I ultimately have no idea what I am bringing anymore, but realize once I get on that plane it doesn't matter.

I do not intend for this blog to be solely a chronicle of my daily life, but I hope to teach readers about Ecuadorian culture and also learn from readers who comment about similar experiences they have had in the world. I want this to be an interactive blog. Now, I would like to leave you all with a quote that good friends of mine left me:

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? (Vincent Van Gogh)

Thanks to all my friends and family for your constant support. I'll see you all soon!