One of the family!

Trip Start Apr 21, 2013
Trip End Jun 30, 2013

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Saturday, June 15, 2013

As I had been told that another partera would be here at 7am to collect me, to stay with her the weekend, I leisurely got up just after 7am. Then had a leisurely breakfast, and packed my bags for 8am. I am getting used to these time frames and beginning to understand the concept of just going at your own pace, regardless of what you have been told. By 9.30 she hadn't arrived and Olga asked me if I wanted to accompany her whole family to a confirmation instead. Of course, I agreed but I told her that I didn't want to be any trouble for her and that I could spend the day by myself without any problem. She wouldn't hear any of it and we all jumped on to a bus to attend the confirmation. As soon as we were heading out of Archidona, I was reminded that we are actually in the jungle, as we were surrounded by rain forest for as far as I could see. The confirmation wasn't actually held in a church, but in the sports building next to it, and it was packed with probably a couple of thousand Ecuadorians. The Bishop was at the front greeting a steady procession of about 100 people who were getting confirmed, many of whom had elaborate, bridesmaid style dresses on. As they were so many people there, we stood at the back, and couldn't see much clearly. As I tower over nearly all of the Ecuadorians I had a much better view than the rest of the family, and was able to take a couple of photos.

After the confirmation, which took an hour or two, we all headed back to Olga's house. It was a simple, wooden building, with a small shop on the ground floor and their living area above. They had a corridor, with a table in it, and an oven, with a small table for preparing the food. Then off that corridor were four small rooms, which each held a couple of beds and not much else. Olga told me that 11 people live there at the moment, and most of them were their for lunch. She cooked up a simple sweetcorn soup, which was followed by rice with pasta, which seems to be a normal lunch for them, but quite carb heavy in my opinion.  As I chatted to Olga's husband I learnt that he worked for an oil company but he was currently out of work, as the project was finished.  He talked highly of the current government and said that most Ecuadorians like the current prime minister but he has improved lots of the road systems and there are proper roads almost throughout Ecuador now.

Then we came back to Archidona, to get ready for a party in the evening. It seems like everyone is invited to the house of the girl that was confirmed today, who is the sister of Olga's daughter-in-law (who is the girl that I attended the birth). I had no idea what to expect but agreed to go along, as I clearly had no other plans and it seemed quite rude to say no. They lived in a simple house on the edge of Archidona, which seemed to have a kitchen, a bedroom, with an outside toilet and nothing more. As we walked in we were given a bowl of soup and a plate of chicken, with rice and ushered into the corner to stand to eat it.  This seems to be the custom here, that when you are invited to someone's house you are given food, but they don't want that to get in the way of drinking, so you do it quickly and get it over with. Then came the ritual walking around topping up your drink and making you down it, which ensures that everyone is downing beer every few minutes. They only had small cups for one mouthful of beer, but the idea still seems ludicrous to me, as everyone was quite drunk and it was only 6pm. After a short time, I was told that we were moving on and all 8 of us piled into a pick up truck style taxi again. We arrived on the outskirts of town, to a huge party that was being held in a sports building. There was a band and everyone was dancing salsa, and we all quickly joined in. I was impressed that jenny had the energy or inclination to dance, considering she only left hospital a couple of days ago. She kept the baby in a sling, which is the custom here, so that she had her arms free to dance, and knew that he was safely strapped close to her body. It was definitely a truly local experience, as I danced on a dancefloor made of sand, with a couple of hundred Ecuadorians. As the local men realised that there was someone knew and clearly different, they came up one at a time to ask me to dance with them, but thankfully Olga's son spoke to each of them and then they disappeared. I have no idea what he said but I was really grateful that I could just dance with the family in peace and didn't have to worry about giving the wrong impression to anyone. Unfortunately one of the downsides of learning the language that the locals speak is that you understand what the locals are saying when they are drunk and think they are in with a chance. As everyone had started drinking early, there was someone asleep lying on the dancefloor by 9.30pm. The family were tired and content from dancing for hours and we got a taxi back to the clinic by 11pm. I asked them if they were going home, but they had decided to sleep in the ward here, rather than pay for the taxi home. What a difference to the regulations at home, 7 slightly drunk people stumbling in and taking all the beds on the ward.
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Gramma on

Gemma!!!! It sounds like you are fitting right in with their customs. You are a very good sport, The only thing wrong is too many carbs, eh!!!!

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