Saturday, March 10, 2007

An interesting week it´s been! Had my pocket picked on an overcrowded bus outside of Cayambe last Saturday. It was in my front pocket! So whoever got it is pretty good. Peace Corps was quite helpful with credit card and Identification stuff. Seems like the occassional petty theft is not much of a surprise. Anyway I´ve learned my lesson and have all kinds of new places to keep money and ID.

In my community we have had 2 mingas (work parties) to get our garden project underway. We cleared a chunk of land at the local health clinic and built 5 raised beds. The plan is to grow vegetables in 3 beds and abonos verde (green manures) in the other 2, using a rotation system.
The work has been fun, and we have had good community participation which is one of the key components of a useful project. A major problem is the lack of water - though it´s supposed to be the rainy season in the Sierra right now in reality it is very dry. Ecuador in general has been suffering through a very severe drought.

I´d like to post some photos, but alas they have all been lost! A glitch at the local photo shop, I was hoping to have them all ( about 90 photos) burned to a CD, but they accidentally erased the contents of my card. I was a little bummed out, but frankly I have been stymied by the whole photo thing here using PC´s. Again, it makes me long for my Mac.

This past Wednesday a group of us had lunch with the US Ambassador to Ecuador. Can´t remember if I have posted about it already or not. Learned alot about US Ecuador relations, Ecuadorean politics. We ate lunch at a fancy hostal out in the campo - it was a treat to have some ravioli and a real salad.

My Spanish is improving, a little. I can almost have a conversation with my 4 year old sister. I am frustrated to not be progressing faster, but I have to keep plugging away. This past week in training we heard presentations about our future permanent sites, all in Spanish. Most of the sites look pretty good - we will know our destinations this coming Tuesday.

Yestrerday we had a tech training on a great local farm - learned how to castrate cuyes (guinea pigs - a culinary delicacy in Ecuador) and chanchos (hogs) Most of us in the Ag Program will end up working with animals one way or the other.

To those of you posting comments, again I really appreciate it. It´s good to hear from you. Colin, your note prompted me to create the following list, and by the way you guys have a great trip to Mexico!

New things I am learning (besides Spanish)
To remember not to put toilet paper in the toilet. It goes in the trashcan next to the toilet.
To smile and say thank you when I am served soup with hooves in it.
To wait for the next bus so I can actually sit down (a standing rider is an easier target to pick)
To appreciate the games of soccer, and Ecuavolley ( a local derivative of volleyball - 3 players on a side and a super high net - impossible to spike)
To not drink too many 70 cent bottles of Pilsener (the popular local brand of cerveza)
To not schedule anything more than 3 days in advance
Ok and here´s the sentimental one - to appreciate the opportunity I´ve been given.

That´s it for now.


Anonymous said...


Castrating anything sounds nasty to me buddy! :o)
Weather here is 60+ today and sunny. Lori did way too many shots of tequila friday night at the neighbors...she ended up driving the bus, but not the type you got your pockets picked on...hahaha!

Bummer on the loss of the images, but I am sure you'll get things figured out soon enough.

The toilet paper in the basura is the same in Mex, at least in Argentina it went down with the flush, alough in the opposite direction... :o)

Hey I like your "top ten" list, maybe you could post a monthly top ten list, that would be pretty interesting to read for sure!

Hooves in the soup! Oh man, that beats being served some nasty neck glands at an asado in Argentina. They were bad enough, but I know enough about where my donkey's hooves are stepping as well as how bad they stink when the ferrier trims them to ever think about having soup with one of them in it. But sometimes you just have to try things one time I suppose...but...yuck! Hope you had plenty of cerveza after that meal.

Three weeks to Mex, I'll be buying all the pesos for the group this week. It's already in the 90's down where we are going.

Lori says hi! I am passing your blog link so she can keep up with your adventures.

You take care buddy...I am gonna take a nap in the back yard and enjoy this 60 degree sunshine!

Be safe!
Nos Vemos...

Anonymous said...

just saying i am checkin on you, buddy. castratin the cute lil giunea pigs?? those lil nuts ought to be a delicacy??? andy

Anonymous said...

Ok, so on my next trip to Ecuador I won't be using any bathrooms, that's for certain.

Shocking to be pick-pocketed, so sorry to hear about that. I love your list of things you've learned. It sounds like you're working your behind off. You must be exhausted.

I'm proud of you,

Anonymous said...

hey daddy,
it has been a while since i read you blog. but it is great to hear what you have been doing. i like your list of things you have learned. The toilet paper issue is VERY important! it seems like you are learning a lot and i am glad to hear that you feel like ecuador is home. i am going to miss santiago A LOT, but i am ready to go home.
ok i love youi soo and i promise that when i get back to ohio i will call you, te extraño MUCHISIMO!!!
te quiero~tia

Anonymous said...

Hey Roger,

Sorry to hear about your pick pocket. When I was in the Army I used to travel with my cash in a plastic baggy, inside my sock, under the ball of my foot. I know it sounds terrible but, it works. I carried my ID in my front pants pocket and always made it a habit to put my hand in that pocket when I stood up, if I could. I especially kept my hand im my pocket in bus terminals etc. The gardening/farming sounds interesting. P.S I have now adopted you Mid Life Crisis posting as my own (if you don't mind) God, it's now great to be 50.
Love you blog. Grow great things.
Brian S.