Picking Up the Pieces…

Hello Everyone!

I am sorry it has taken me so long to write again, as you may have noticed in the news, things in Ecuador have been pretty hectic recently.

March and April were rough months for pretty much everyone I know.

In March, two of my friend’s mothers passed away within weeks of each other which just felt like…

how can it be

All I wanted to do was go home and support them but unfortunately, volunteer budgets do not allow for last minute trips to the States. Instead, I am trying to support them, as much as possible from here, but I must admit it’s difficult.

Then on April 16th there was a 7.8 earthquake on the coast of Ecuador that killed over 650 people. Fortunately, Quito (where I live) was not severely impacted by the earthquake and all of the Volunteers were safe. However, there were THOUSANDS of Ecuadorians that were injured, many missing and now even more are currently homeless. Watching all of this unfold in a country that you consider your second home was like…

awful

After everything happened, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers stepped up and immediately started collecting donations to help the affected areas. Since currently serving volunteers can’t accept financial contributions, they were the link that made it possible for us to help on the ground.

Also, since currently serving volunteers were living in some of the most impacted areas, we were able to communicate with local community members and ask what resources they needed so that we could send supplies to the areas that weren’t receiving media attention.

Once the immediate emergency level of the situation subsided, the volunteers decided that it was now best to focus our efforts on the rebuilding process. As I mentioned before, THOUSANDS of people are homeless and since most structures in Ecuador are built by cement, the reconstruction effort is daunting at best. There are now tent cities popping up all over the coast which will create a different set of issues ranging from hygiene to crime. So with the media attention subsiding, it is even more imperative to focus on different kind of relief efforts in the affected areas. It’s going to be a long process but this small country is strong and will hopefully rise to the challenge.

I want to take this time to say THANK YOU to everyone who reached out and donated to the relief efforts. It means a lot to me that you helped support in any way you could. While we all feel very helpless, we are trying our best to help our families here in Ecuador. So,

thank you

In more personal news, the Substance Abuse Prevention Training project I was working on was postponed because of the earthquake which was disappointing, but also expected once the details of the disaster started coming in.

Fortunately, the project will continue, but I’m now concerned about sustainability since they also had to cancel the arrival of the newest group of trainees that were supposed to arrive this week. I am sure it will all work out but my 4th year definitely looks a lot different than it did a couple months ago. I’m still feeling like this though…

everything alright

Now that things are getting (kind of) back to normal, I have been able to start different projects at my counterpart organization. I am currently working on substance abuse prevention classes and I’m also going to start teaching the HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum my counterpart and I were trained in a couple months ago…

happy

I am also looking forward to having several visitors over the summer! In July, one of my friends is coming to visit and in August, my friend AND my cousin are coming to visit all of which makes me feel like…

happy 2

I also recently bought a ticket back home for my brother’s wedding in December so ALL of my current and future vacation days are BOOKED! I better get medically cleared to stay another year or I’ll be like…

freak out

But I’m obviously optimistic about everything so no worries!

In other small (but big to me) news, I got a slow cooker and I’m considering adopting a kitten! Both unrelated to one another, but equally exciting…

sqeal

Well that’s all I have for now! Hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Peace out!

PS. If you’re interested in helping out with relief efforts please feel free to contact me and I can get you any information you’d like!

Advertisements