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.