The Holidays in Ecuador

Trip Start Feb 08, 2006
Trip End Apr 2008

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Friday, December 15, 2006

    ¡Hola! ¿Qué tal? mi familia y mis amigos. Estoy bien, esperando que salga el bus a Quito. Sí, me voy de viaje otra vez. Pero esta vez es obligatorio. Cuerpo de Paz dice que necesita ver mis dientes...salud es prioridad numero uno con mis jefes. Supongo que eso es bueno, pero ¡NO ME GUSTA el viaje de diez horas! Bueno, de todas maneras, muy pronto estaré vuelta en Cerro Azul, siguiendo con mi trabajo. Y ¿qué trabajo? me preguntas....te lo cuento....

    Well, it´s been a while and I´ve been busy. So, of course, there is much to tell. I suppose I should begin where I left off...

    In October I attended the Reconnect conference in Mindo. And as I mentioned, despite illness, I had a good time.  My counterpart, president of Las Orquídeas (the women´s organization in Cerro Azul), revealed herself to be a tremendously competent and motivated woman.  This was a pleasant surprise, given our lack of collaboration in those first six months.  Since returning from Reconnect, the señoras have had two meetings and are planning both a sex ed seminar for the women in the community as well as an info gathering trip to an orquidea garden in Zaruma.  The latter of the two projects was presented by yours truly and the women appear to be sincerely interested in the construction of an "orquideario" in Cerro Azul. I am hoping to make this trip with two members of the group within the month in order to begin planning of the garden (or at least the proposal of such a project).
    As far as continuing projects go, I am still teaching at the school. We have finished nutrition and have begun geography.  A friend and nearby volunteer introduced me to a great activity that I am currently conducting with the students and hope to improve upon. They are making atlases. I print off blank maps, they label and color them and we discuss the related volcabulary and themes. Once the atlases are completed, I plan to begin the World Map Project provided by Peace Corps, in which the students themselves paint a map of the world on a wall or other large surface. It is a wonderful way of teaching geography and I think it will be a great follow up to the atlases. 
    I´m sure there are several more work topics that I could discuss, but instead I would like to jump straight to Turkey Day! ¡Qué bueno! I may have been in Ecuador, thousands of miles from Plymouth Rock, but there was nothing lacking this Thanksgiving.  Three other volunteers and I gathered at my house for a lovely baked chicken and some not-too.shabby Chilean wine.  Oh, but the fixins didn´t stop there. We managed some fabulously traditional sides that COVERED the table and filled our tummies.  I made mashed potatoes, apple pie and banana bread.  The married couple brought artichoke dip, corn and cranberry sauce (SENT FROM THE USA!!!). And the volunteer from down the road brought cinnamon carrots,  homemade stuffing and cornbread. There are pictures to prove it, but those will have to wait until my next entry.
  Well, Christmas is coming soon and I will be spending it again with "the couple" as they have so been dubbed by our group and I only hope that we can live up to the success of our Turkey Day in Cerro Azul. Vamos a ver.  I will write soon. Cuídense. Chao
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