I get by with a little help from my friends…

Hey Everyone!

So for the last few weeks things have been going better than I ever anticipated! For a while there I was kind of feeling like….

hang-in-there

But now I’m feeling pretty much like…

bush

So to start things off, after I moved into my new apartment (which is pretty much a basement) I was not very excited about all the mold, mildew and spiders that I was encountering. Now the spiders I could handle, but I was genuinely concerned with the lack of ventilation/sunlight and how nothing ever dried… EVER!

yelch

After I relayed this information to my friends and family, my worried parents offered to fund a search for a dehumidifier!  This turned out to be EXTREMELY challenging! After a few failed attempts, I finally headed to one of the largest cities in Ecuador and everywhere I looked the salespeople were just like…

don't know what that is

And I was just like…

REALLY

Then after searching for a couple days I was just like…

punch

So when I FINALLY found one I was just like…

gimme-gimme-GIF

 

Well let me tell you, the search was worth it! This machine has SAVED MY LIFE! Not only do I not have to worry about mold growing on EVERYTHING I own, but I can also mop and the water, get this, DRIES! And my shower doesn’t hold water for weeks at a time! I am beyond excited about this contraption and I just want to say a very public…

thank you

To my parents for making my Ecua-life soooo much better/healthier!

So now that my living situation has drastically improved I have been a lot more eager to focus my attention on other things such as my projects, which actually tends to looks like this…

I dont know what to do

 

So, since my English classes finished mid-April, my counterpart and I had some time to go to all of the schools in Celica and see if I could organize activities with them for the upcoming school year. This was perfect timing since the school year starts in May.

When we went to the first school, the Director was just like…

no

 

And my counterpart and I were both like…

saw that going differently

 

But after that, ALL of the other schools were like…

James-Earl-Jones-Totes-McGotes2

 

So then my counterpart and I were more like…

blues brothers

So this next week I will meet with 4 schools and organize a calendar for the activities that I will help with! Right now the activities will include, English clubs, Sports clubs, a Girl’s Club, Kid’s Clubs and “Life Skills” classes.

All in all, it’s very exciting news. These will be my first long-term projects that I will be starting so I’m pretty much like…

excited

 

We are also restarting our Red Cross youth volunteer program in May. My counterpart and I have had a few weeks to start organizing those plans and make improvements to our current structure so I must admit that I am pretty optimistic but at the same time I’m pretty much like…

lower expectations

 

Later I would also like to collaborate with a Women’s Group that apparently already exists in Celica, but that I just found out about last week…

face palm

And of course, I will be organizing activities with the local military base as soon as my calendars at the schools are set. At the moment I pretty much feel like I’m doing this…

juggle

But honestly, things seem to be falling into place pretty nicely. Let’s just hope it stays that way!

In the end, the next few weeks are going to be very important for the next year of activities so I hope things don’t do this…

secondary projects

Or I will probably do this…

tumblr_m7c6dnPcgW1qfymwo

But really, even if things do fall apart, that is really what grassroots development is all about.

try things that may not work

Until something does.

 

At moments like these I think it’s important to say how very grateful I am for my counterpart.

At times, working with my counterpart can really make me feel like…

most difficult life

And then I get frustrated and am all like…

dont make me destroy you

But then we have weeks, like this one, where everything goes perfectly and I’m just like…

idk what im upset about

And then it makes me appreciate him again and renew my faith in our work together. So then I end up just being like…

hahahaha you

But seriously I wouldn’t be able to do HALF of my work without his support. I am a very lucky volunteer indeed.

Well, that’s all for now!

I hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Peace Out!

 

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And We’re Back!!!

Hey Everyone!

So I finally have internet again!!! Honestly, the fact that I can get Wi-Fi in my apartment while serving in the Peace Corps kind of makes me feel like…

real or not real

A lot has happened in the last month, so hopefully I can get it all down without making this post a novel!

I am going to start with a few funny stories that I have wanted to share and then move on to the serious work/project related news! Ready!?

about to go down

 

This story is titled:

“You can’t do that! You have lady parts!”

So recently, I broke down and finally decided to get a gas tank for my stove because my electric burner just wasn’t cutting it.

Once the decision was made, I then had to find someone to help me lug the thing back to my house. Fortunately, my counterpart agreed to help but I was then at the mercy of his schedule and his priorities. In the end, it took 2 days to actually happen and then after we bought it, he decided he wanted to go look at the mountains for about 30 minutes which was nice, but I was pretty much like…

no-answer

Just so you know, that entire process only needed to take 10 minutes… tops. Not being self-sufficient in Ecuador after being self-sufficient in the States can be pretty frustrating…

heavy-sigh-gif-i1

So after I got the gas tank to my house, I had to buy a valve to connect it to my stove. I told my landlady and she insisted that she accompany me to the hardware store. I was just like…

omgcw

As we were buying the valve she asked, ¨Do you know how to connect it? ¨

And I said, ¨Yes, I’ve done it a couple times before.¨

Then she asked again, ¨Are you sure you know how to do it? You don´t need a man to help you? ¨

And again I said, ¨No, I can do it by myself. I’ve done it before.¨

And she just looked at me like…

I-dont-believe-you

Well, when we got back to the house I discovered that one of the parts was too big so we had to go back to the hardware store to exchange it. I told them the problem and a man in the store assured me that the part wasn’t too big, I just didn’t know what I was doing! He then insisted on coming over to connect the valve for me. At that point I was just like…

do-not-care

And my landlady was just thrilled that we found a man to help so the entire way home I just kept repeating, ¨Thank GOD we have a man to help us! ¨

When we got to my place we discovered that the part actually WAS too BIG! And I was all like…

yes

and my landlady was just like…

whatever

Then out of nowhere a firefighter just showed up at my apartment (apparently our previous knight in shining armor works at the fire department). He then, went to the store, bought the parts we needed, installed the valve and connected the gas to the stove!

The entire time I was just like…

whaaaaaaaaa

We have our own personal firefighter to do handy work!? In the States this would NEVER happen!

So I mean, I guess there are perks to being a lady in Ecuador?

 

This next story is titled:

“Please, Random Stranger, tell me more about my own country!”

 

This is the story of a conversation I had with a woman I had never met before.

I was making copies in an internet café for my English classes and then out of nowhere a woman was just like…

Woman: ¨Why are you so tall? ¨

Me: ¨Because my parents are tall.¨

Woman: ¨No, it´s because of your food.¨

Me:

are you serious

¨Maybe, but mostly it´s because my parents are tall.¨

Woman: ¨No, I’ve seen foreigners before, you´re ALL really tall.¨

Me:

face palm

¨Well no, not ALL of us are tall, a lot of us are short like you too.¨

Woman: ¨No, you´re ALL tall, I’ve seen other foreigners before.¨

Me:

whatever nevermind

¨OK¨

Woman: “And in America all of your food comes in bags and it´s all already prepared, right?”

Me:

frustrated

¨Yes, that exists but we have fresh food too.¨

Woman: ¨I’ve seen it on TV, all of your food comes in bags.¨

Me:

kill me now

¨OK¨

Moral of the story… Sometimes you have to pick your battles.

 

 

Now on to the updates!!!

So the beginning of March was Carnival, which in Ecuador means one big water/food/foam fight for about 3 days!

Here for Carnival they sell these tubes of spray foam that looks kind of like shaving cream but the consistency is more like soap suds. People spray this all over anyone and everyone, in their face, hair, on their clothes… it’s just a thing.

People throw buckets of water on anyone, even strangers (trust me, I know) and apparently people will make mixtures of flour, dirt, paint and all sorts of other mess and throw it in people’s faces too! It’s pretty much what a battle with elementary schoolers would look like and no one is safe! The entire time you pretty much feel like…

aliens

Because of the water factor I decided to spend Carnival on the coast and I had a blast! The other volunteers and I were all pretty much like…

celebrate

During the 3 days I managed to get foamed, get a bucket of water thrown on me, lose a pair of flip flops on the beach, find said pair of flip flops on a friend, lose my phone on the beach, find my phone on the beach, accidentally lock myself in a bathroom and get rescued from said bathroom by another volunteer. Needless to say it was a very interesting few days.

When I got back to Celica, it was time to try to resuscitate my projects from February. Fortunately my counterpart and I managed to salvage some of what we were working on and in March we gave 2 workshops about substance abuse prevention at a Red Cross camp and at the local military base!

thumbs-up

This is the beginning of a larger campaign that I am trying to work on with the Red Cross youth volunteers, we’ll see how it goes!

Also, since March and April are Celica’s summer vacation, I have been teaching English classes! While I like to think that everyone loves learning English, I’m pretty sure that some of my students probably feel this way about it…

english

I have also started playing Ultimate Frisbee with some of the kids in town! At the moment, I am really trying to get to know more kids in Celica because the more kids I know, the more successful my future activities will hopefully be!

Also, playing sports is just fun!

forever-alone

So, overall it hasn’t been as successful as I had hoped, but it also hasn’t been a total failure like I had feared. So I pretty much feel like I deserve one of these…

non-failure

I am honestly very pleased with how everything is working out and later this month we are meeting with the local schools so I can start working with them throughout the upcoming school year! So yeah! Plans! We have them!

orson_wells_Slow-Clap

As far as everything else goes, I am starting to really adjust to my new apartment. At first, the amount of spiders and lack of natural light (I’m pretty much living in a basement) was not something I particularly enjoyed. But I have been spending a lot of time cooking and I have pretty much learned the ropes of independent living here. So I feel a lot more like…

fabulous

Until I see big spider and then I’m like…

scared

But it’s getting better.

My landlady is also great and is pretty much my new host mom. She gives me free food, is teaching me how to Ecua-cook and finds/gives me random household supplies just because! She is very sweet and sometimes overbearing but always in a caring way. I enjoy having her around and she is definitely the best thing about living in my new apartment. We’re pretty much like…

blues-brothers

Well that’s all I have for now!

I hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Peace Out!