Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Site Assignment!!

So we got our sites today, which was totally exciting. I got one of my top choices, so I´m really happy. I´m going to this beautiful spot in the mountains near this famous lake (that´s a big tourist attraction) and working with organic agriculture and animals. Now I don´t have to worry about taking malaria meds =) On Sunday everyone is going to visit their sites for a week, so we get a trial run before having to drag all our stuff there.
This weekend some of us went to this really neat bee workshop about an hour from here. They actually use killer bees for honey here because that´s the only kind they have. The bees are actually relatively docile as long as you mantain the hive. They´re also a lot more hardy and there aren´t problems in Ecuador like there are in the US with the colony collapse. We got to put on masks and watch them up close working with the bees. It took a fair amount of self control just to stand there while the bees were all buzzing around, when all you really wanted to do was swat and run away. Another interesting note is that by getting people excited about bees in Ecuador you can also get them excited about reforestation. Saving habitat for bees to get nectar is more of an incentive to stop deforestation than all the traditional reasons. I guess people really like their honey down here.
Another lesson learned this week was to never, ever have a large package sent. I went with my language group to Quito because we had to do some stuff at the bank and also one person had a large package. First we went to one post office, only to find that her package was at another one cross town. We got to that one and found out there are about 100 steps to retriving the package. First you have to give them copies of your identification, then you have to pay for them to process that, after which they take you in the back to look in your package and decide how much the tax on it is. After that they send you to two different places to pay the tax (which can be anywhere from 3 to 30 dollars), then you can come back and get your package. Ahh, the joys of bureaucracies.


Rachel said...

I'm really excited for you about your site assignment--it sounds really great (and great to visit)! It sucks how annoying it is to get a package, though. I guess no Cheerios for you :-). When Jason was in Mongolia his mom would send him stuff like newspapers and magazines along with other non-perishable goodies since it took months to get there. The customs people always asked him if was porn and he had to tell them "no of course not it's from my mother!"

Sarah said...

No malaria pills, picturesque scenery, top choice-- excellent! Que bueno! Que suerte!

I'll be mindful not to send you porn, as Rachel clearly delineates that international customs are not favorable of that. Darn, and it was high on my list.