I wrote an article for the Peace Corps Ecuador volunteer magazine, El Clima, about baseball.
Se realizÃ³ plantÃ³n por los niÃ±os de la calle, en el norte - La circulaciÃ³n de los vehÃculos por las intersecciones de las avenidas Plaza DaÃ±Ãn, del Periodista y Francisco de Orellana se volviÃ³ un poco lenta, ayer, debido a que mÃ¡s de 50 voluntarios y miembros de la FundaciÃ³n Junto con los NiÃ±os (Juconi) efectuaron un plantÃ³n en el lugar, con la que se recordÃ³ el DÃa Internacional de los NiÃ±os de la Calle. - ABR. 13, 2013 - Comunidad - Noticias de Guayaquil | El Universo - EL UNIVERSO
“Unos voluntarios extranjeros se pintaron los rostros de mimos y se acercaron a los vehículos mostrando imágenes sobre los niños que no deben deambular por las calles.”
“Foreign volunteers painted their faces like mimes and got close to cars while showing images about the children who should not be in the streets.”
A group of volunteers from the nonoprofit group Charlotte Miller Art Project work weekly with groups of kids in three different communities in the city of Guayaquil: Balerio Estacio, Nueva Prosperina, and Isla Trinitaria. They somehow manage to get wild groups of children who don’t speak their language to participate in making beautiful, incredible works of art. This video is from a project they did entitled “Light and Shadow.”
I recently met a couple who are volunteers working with a women’s group making jewelry in Palmar, Ecuador. The work they are doing is incredible, check it out.
Life with the host family has transitioned much more smoothly than I anticipated. After an incredible experience with my Quito host family, I was weary of a possible drop-off in relations with my new host family. My fears were put to rest quickly by the extremely open and hospitable nature of my new Guayaquil host family. While not an absurdly rich family, my new family is relatively well-off. The house has three guest rooms, one of which I occupy, along with the family’s bedrooms and the maid’s quarters. Yes, we have a maid, and she has quarters. A friend who was a volunteer in West Africa told me a story about his village having to build a latrine in town in order for the Peace Corps to allow him to live there. No one ended up using the latrine, often not even him. My wi-fi internet access and DVD player are part of a somewhat different experience.
I’ll preface this story by saying that my “parents” are portly. My “mother” often scolds my “dad” - whom she lovingly refers to as “fatty” - for eating too much. Yesterday my “aunt” came over for dinner. After a pretty typical dinner including many fried plantain and yucca products, my “mom” offered her some chocolates that she had hidden in a jar on the living room table, only to find that the chocolates had been discovered and eaten. She proceeded to scold my “dad,” while he feigned ignorance and innocence, claiming he was being “unjustly accused.” That fat, clever man.
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” - Sen. Edward Kennedy
Check out this article on NPR about Fundacion JUCONI, the organization I work with in Quayaquil, Ecuador.
The hectic training schedule the last couple of weeks has combined with my intermittent wireless internet access to limit my ability to post blog entries. Sorry. A quick summary of the high points of the last few weeks in bullet point format:
- Went on a “technical training” trip to an amazing beach town called Bahia de Caraquez, where I met the following turtle, Miguelito. Also played a lot of red rover on the beach.
- Went to a baptism, which involves about 30 minutes in a church followed by about 8 hours of eating, drinking, and dancing
- Met the new Ambassador to Ecuador, Adam Namm. (If you’re reading this and we’re not friends on facebook, sorry if you can’t see these links. But you’re probably a stalker, so I’m not that sorry.)
- Learned that I’ll be living in Quayaquil, Ecuador for the next 2 years…
That last one warrants an actual paragraph. Quayaquil is the biggest city in Ecuador, at about 4 million people. One of my language facilitators in training told me that Quayaquil is the New York City of Ecuador, which is a fairly meaningless metaphor, but I’m running with it nonetheless. It is, however, the economic center of the country and the undisputed cultural capitol of the coastal region of Ecuador. I’m not exactly sure what kind of life I pictured for myself here in Ecuador, but it was definitely more hammocks and livestock than skyscrapers and traffic jams.
Next week we head off to our sites for an introductory week before our last month of training begins, so I’ll be spending the week in the big city.