Red Cross Ecuador

Trip Start Sep 27, 2006
Trip End Jun 09, 2007

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Thursday, February 1, 2007

Ahhh, broke my new years resolution already.  Really though, itīs frustrating as hell making these blog entries on the monkey sh&$ computers they have here.  I guess if I wanted speed and no crashes I would have stayed in a country where the electricity stays on for more than 2 days at a time...anyways, here goes.  As I think I mentioned last time, I found a volunteer position with the Red Cross of Ecuador.  Unfortunately, itīs not exactly what I was expecting.  I was hoping for at least a few instructional courses, showing me how to do CPR, basic first aid, things of that nature.  Instead, all we do is lounge on the beach all day and give glasses of water to old ladies whoīve had too much sun.  Once in a while someone will stand up in front and blather on for a while about the importance of vigilance on the beach and so on, but after a few minutes itīs blahblahblahblah...blah...only in spanish.  On the bright side, we get to misuse a lot of the equipment!  We spend a lot of time tearing around in the Red Cross boat, ostensibly looking for people who need rescuing, but really just having fun.    Also, this past weekend, I got to be part of the Red Cross contingent at a local soccer game.  It was Emelec, one of the most popular teams in Ecuador, against Manta FC.  It was funny actually, more people in the stands were cheering for Emelec, and we were in Mantaīs stadium!  Crazy...I took a bunch of pictures, but the monkey sh&$ computer wonīt let me add them.  It was pretty cool though, we were right alongside the field.  The game was fairly highscoring for soccer, Emelec won 3-2.  At one point, one of the players was injured and we were called out!  My childhood dream realized, I was finally on the field for a professional sports event!  And to think I wasted all that time practicing my jumpshot when I could have just volunteered for the Red Cross.  Anyways, we ran over to the guy, who was rolling around in pain, lifted him into the stretcher, and hauled him off the field.  Literally 5 seconds later, he jumped up, ran along the sidelines, and started yelling for permission to go back on.  Apparently he forgot the incredible agony he was in that caused us to carry him off the field in a stretcher.  Those soccer players sure are tough...   So, while the soccer game was fun, the Red Cross experience in general is somewhat lacking.  To fill the void Iīve started volunteering at a local shelter teaching english classes to kids.  My first day, I showed up, expecting at least a class list and a ready classroom.  Wrong!  I guess the social workers have their hands full.  So after 2 days of hassle and carnage, now I finally have the kids organized and a place to teach set up.  The classes go 2 days a week, all summer, that is, until the end of March.  Wednesday mornings I also go to a physical therapy clinic to see what goes on there.  Iīve only been for one morning so far, but itīs pretty interesting, and the people are nice.   Though there are some problems and frustrations, Iīm enjoying my time here in Manta.  Itīs beautiful, I have lots to do now, and Iīm getting to know more and more people.  Iīm thinking about another 2 or 3 months here, then maybe moving on to Argentina or Chile.  Really I havenīt decided yet though....weīll see.
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