Monday, October 19, 2009
I didn’t get to run in the race in Guayaquil. PCVs were on travel restriction until October 6th. I did, however, go to Quito for the seleccion mundial! Alea, Sarah and her boyfriend Danielle, and I decided to go Friday afternoon for the game on Saturday. It was a really hectic trip – we took a night bus Friday and arrived in Quito at Kristen’s around 4:30AM. We napped for a few hours and then headed to the stadium at 10 AM because we only had general admission tickets and were hearing that to get a seat we’d need to get there super early.
The game didn’t start until 5pm, so we made friends with people sitting around us, hung out, drank a bit, and got caught up in the atmosphere. The entire stadium was filled by around 2 or 3pm. When Ecuador scored the first goal, the stadium went nuts – it was really the most exciting moment in sports I’ve experienced. And then no more than 30 seconds later Uruguay scored, and the stadium was completely silent. Also the first time I’ve been in a stadium and its literally been silent. I could see the Uruguayan team celebrating, but couldn’t hear a thing. When Peru scored a goal against Chile and their score was tied 1-1, the stadium got some life again, only to be shut down once and for all when Uruguay scored on a penalty shot to end the game. Ecuador lost 2-1; and lost again the following Wednesday, killing their chance to play in South Africa for the World Cup.
Although it sucked that Ecuador lost, that didn’t stop us from going out Saturday night. We danced the night away until about 4 – ran into some other volunteers and folks that work at the embassy. Sunday we went to an artesania market and watched AMERICAN FOOTBALL. It was so incredible!!!! I felt like I was back in the states. Sunday night we were back on a night bus to Portoviejo. I am not a fan of night buses. I basically didn’t sleep for 3 days. And my body is still mad at me for it. I ended up getting amebas somehow. Not a fun experience, but my meds have helped. Now I’ve developed a cough and sore, scratchy throat. I hope I don’t get TB from the wood-burning stove we use to cook.
Today was the Nutricion Fair in Portoviejo. The Committee of Volunteers were asked to make soy products to sell at the fair, so yesterday we made everything from scratch. There were about 10 of us at Sra. Nelly’s house from 9 AM until 8 PM. We peeled the soy beans, cleaned them, crushed them by hand-churning a tool to squeeze the milk out, boiled sugar, and shredded yuca, verde and other vegetables to make tortillas. 11 hours! I was thinking about trying to sell soy products every month in Sucre during our health fairs to help raise money for the committee, but after Thursday, I hope to never have to make soy products by hand again.
It wasn’t the fact that we did everything by hand that was frustrating; it was the lack of organization and the attitude from some of the people working. In general, people here don’t seem to have a concept of organization, teamwork, or commitment. I’m not sure why, but volunteers don’t attend meetings that they say they will and they don’t notify you that they’re not coming. When people do show up, they don’t want to participate. I’m not sure how to create a better sense of comradery, but I’m going to try and figure something out because the fact that 24 de Mayo has a committee of volunteers is pretty special and not something that all cantons have. We need to take advantage of this instead of pissing it away.
Somehow the soy milk ended up “breaking,” and we had to salvage what we could and boil it again. There were some tears involved in that process and finger pointing as to who’s fault it was. I guess I was a little frustrated too because I still feel like an outsider. I don’t understand everything that is said, so I can’t enjoy the little inside jokes that are made while working; no one listens to my suggestions whether or not they can understand them; and I just don’t see how I can help or improve things. I’m great at identifying problems, but finding practical solutions is another issue.
Anyway, the soy was a hit during the fair – we sold a cup of soy milk and tortilla for $.25 and ended up making about $10-$15.
10.18.09 – Aerobicos!!
Friday night we started the first aerobics class in Los Tillales. I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to show up, but about 15 people came - basically on time too. So we agreed to do class every Wednesday and Friday at 7pm. If anyone reading this is ever in the area – be sure to stop by! You don’t want to miss it! I’m quite the instructor…I’m sure those of you back home can appreciate that picture. What I really need is a tv and dvd player so I can pop in a dance-therapy class. I am accepting Christmas presents!