Visitas, Trabajo y "Sex Ed"
Trip Start Feb 08, 2006
23Trip End Apr 2008
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Bueno, hace mucho tiempo que no escribo, entonces hay demasiado que decir (como siempre), pero hare lo que puedo para contar todo...
Well, I've been busy, I'll say that much. So busy that I can hardly remember where I left off. I believe the last entry (back in April!) was titled "Frustrations and Successes," which, when it comes down to it, could be the title of all my entries. But today, I think I'd like to focus on the successes. I've had several these past few months.
Let's start with today. As a favor to a fellow volunteer I gave a "charla" or a talk on sexuality and reproductive anatomy at a local high school. The volunteer (also a good friend) has been working with the Red Cross and has designed a series of classes on various topics which she conducts every Saturday. She was unable to make it today, so I filled in.
So, I'll admit, I was pretty nervous. It wasn't just ANY high school, it was a military high school and each group consisted of about 75 students! Oh yes, and do I need to mention, it was in SPANISH! Luckily I practiced the word "espermatozoides" enough times that I only tripped over it twice in the four hours of talking.
But as I mentioned, my experiences today will not be counted among the frustrations. On the contrary I really enjoyed myself. The kids were well behaved (could have had something to do with their military superiors breathing down their necks, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt). They asked good questions, laughed at my jokes and seemed to have learned a few new things! All and all, I think today was rather successful.
Back in ol' Cerro Azul, work has been progressing rapidly, as well. "Rapidly" is relative, of course, and here in Ecuador the advancements we have made recently can be termed "rapid"...in the rest of the world, I'm not so sure...
The library is being attended three times a week by member of "Libros Leidos" (book club) and although attendance is still low, our hopes are high. We received a very generous donation from another volunteer and as a result were able to purchase several more books to add to those collected in the community. Two young ladies were quite excited about the works of literature and are reading "Romeo y Julieta" and "Amor en los Tiempos de Colera" (a work by Gabriel Garcia Marquez).
The book clubs continue. The younger members have just finished "Charlie y la Fabrica de Chocolate" and we watched the movie yesterday. Although I made them work a bit for the movie (they had to note at least 3 differences between the book and the film) they were pretty content. I made popcorn and watched Oompa Loompas sing in Spanish. Pretty cool.
The older book club members are about halfway through "Hija de la Fortuna" and the discussion has been great. They are asking excellent questions, sharing opinions and reading like mad (one has already finished the book!)
And to conclude this brief summary of successes, the group that I mentioned in the previous entry that was formed to address environmental issues, has formed a "directiva" (is "directive" the right word in English?), and chosen a name..."Guardianes de la Naturaleza." Translation: Guardians of Nature. AND...AND...they are developing a project. At the moment we are writing a grant for funds from the US Dept of Agriculture and fine tuning the details of the project.
So, what is the project? Well, the general (working) title is "Conservacion del Medio Ambiente" (Conservation of the Environment...yeah, it needs some work) And it has three components. The first: development of a community environmental education program. My role in designing this component has been comprehensive, but the group members are definitely learning a great deal about the importance of environmental education and the relevant issues in Cerro Azul. In fact, it is the issues that compelled the creation of components 2 and 3. The second: construction of several signs indicating the prohibition of fishing with dynamite (a serious problem) and hunting (a major threat to native species). The third (and proving to be the most complicated): the improvement of waste management. This component will be the clincher in gaining the full support of the community, as the benefits will be enjoyed by all with minimal costs in the short run and none in the long run. The plan is to construct several trash collection sites (a large trash can, a small cement base and tin roof) thoughout the community from which a vehicle will gather the waste once a week to transport to a neighboring community, from where the trash will be taken to a city landfill. The tricky part has been gaining the official support of the two mayors that will be involved in the transportation of the trash. However, as I said, so far so good.
Well, I think my free internet time here at the hotel has expired. Did I mention that, in English anway? I am in Guayaquil awaiting the arrival of yet another visitor. (Another friend of mine, and her two friends just left and my sister will be here in August! Crazy) This current visitor and wonderful friend of mine will be flying in around midnight, so I am going to take advantage of the cable television and air conditioning for a few hours before I go meet her.
I'll try to post pictures soon. Cuidense. Adios