Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The longest day . . .
So I've finally made it into the big city and can finally upload some of my photos. I realized after the fact that I haven't really taken that many photos yet of my current digs, so that will have to wait till next time. Most of the photos are of the swearing in ceremony and the parties following it. There's a picture of me with one of my language facilitators as well as one with one of our technical trainers. The lady behind the podium is the current US ambassador in Ecuador, who gave a very nice (and short speech). Then there are some pics of our nightime tour of Quito in the rockin' party bus. I couldn't figure out how to get a good night picture of the main plaza so please excuse the blurriness. For the picnic after swearing in we learned a fun bollywood dance and performed for everyone (yes, I actually danced in public). The only pic of my current life is the group of us knitting, which is not the greatest picture but it'll have to do for now =)
The title of the post refers to my experiences this past Sunday which were quite interesting. The former volunteer at my site had visited this other community to do a talk on small businesses and they invited me to come and see if I wanted to continue what the other volunteer had started. The other volunteer implied that it was not too long of a trip, so I didn't bring my cell phone as there really isn't any reception in the near vicinity. I hop in the truck and we were off early Sunday morning. After about two hours I'm starting to wonder where exactly we are going. So I ask the guy sponsoring this excursion and he says that it's three hours. I take this to mean three hours total, but actually he meant three more hours (which actually turned into four hours). Finally we arrive at the town which is in the transitional zone heading towards the coast and quite a bit warmer that I was prepared for. There's a very long town meeting where I am asked to present my ideas which I was not prepared for. Trying to speak on the fly in Spanish on a topic you're not ready for is an interesting experience and one I would not care to repeat. So the meeting finally wraps up and we climb back in the truck to head back. This trip is even longer as the roads are worse since there's been a downpour all afternoon, it's dark, and it's very cloudy. We get stuck in the mud on several occasions and in one instance the tire was off the edge of the road. I'm not sure if there was just a little drop under the tire, or if the tire was dangling over the cliff and frankly I was perfectly happy not to know. So we finally get back at around 4 in the morning and I don't think I was ever so happy to see my bed. Meanwhile people in town were quite concerned because they didn't realize I was going so far (since I didn't know either) and I got a bit of a talking to the next day about making sure to tell them where I was going. Plus now my knees are black and blue after constantly bonking against the dash for 14 hours. I am convinced that vehicles here are not built for anyone over 5'3".
As a result of this experience I have decided not to work with this group at the moment since I still need to get started in my community. Maybe after the summer and after the roads get patched up a bit I'll head back. Well that's all for now, I need to get to the supermarket to get stuff for chocolate chip cookies. yum! =)