Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Hola a todos! I am in Cuzco, Peru right now, with my Dad. So far we have had an AMAZING trip. Spending a day in Lima, we got to tour the old cathedrals and coastal lookout. Then we jet off in an hour-long plane ride to Cuzco, where we have spent 2-3 days touring the old Incan ruins and historic city. Last night we got back from a day and a half at Machu Picchu. We had to take a four hour train through beautiful Peruvian countryside, ending up at the tourist town of Aguas Calientes where we got to explore the ruins of Machu Picchu. Dad was nice enough to do this trip ¨to the nines¨ so I´ve had star treatment everywhere we´ve gone--from amazing food to luxorious beds. Definitely a change from my little Yantzaza!

I am posting pictures, that more describes what we have done...but nothing compares to seeing what it is like in real person!

Downtown Lima. This is the center of town, with the historic fountain and yellow government buildings. Apparently, at Peru´s Indenpendence Day, they put Pisco, the native brandy drink, in the fountain and it runs like that all day! Salud!

Lover´s Park on the coast. Awesome statue that they put up about 10 years ago. They said it was a lovers hangout and then decided to make it official with the statue and mosaic benches with romantic quotes all over the park. I think it might have been better ´escondido´...but that´s just me.

Dad taking a shot of the ceramic figures at a museum in Lima. A rich land owner started a collection of these, which were found in Incan tombs throughout the country. They all represent something different, from animals to diseases, to farming, to erotic ceramics which we saw in the other room. As Dad liked to say, Those Incans were a Randy bunch!

Update: Due to an EXTREMELY unfortunate occurance, my photos from Machu Picchu and Cuzco were erased. Lo siento, but I won´t be able to post any of those pictures. At least I have really great memories and thanks to my Dad for taking me and being part of it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bye Bye FODI

Well the date has finally arrived, and FODI is no longer the FODI I met a mere year ago. As some of you may know, the organization I worked with in Zumbi, the child care project, has now ended thanks to the new municipal administration. Apparently, that is how politics are here; when one guy leaves, all of his current team leaves with him too. For me, this is has been a very surprising and confusing process. I can understand changing some of the higher up positions, however firing ALL mid-to low-level positions does not make much sense to me. With FODI, the organization and process of everything is very complex. There is a TON of paperwork, not to mention the years of relationships these people have built with the communities, now the new group of FODI has to start from square one.

Everyone did not seemed surprised to know that they were all losing their jobs (not a single person was asked to come back). However, upon this notice none seemed to pressed to find other jobs, either. Most of the personnel are going to stay at home, finish their degrees, or find other avenues within Zumbi. Yeni, the director, did apply for the same position but in Guaysimi, where Chris lives, however was not able to accept it because the new mayor of Zumbi would not let her leave a WEEK EARLY!....needless to say, I think you know how my feelings are towards the new Zumbi administration...

However, despite the tristeza they all found it within themselves to celebrate the end of a great career with the community members they have grown to love. Monday night we trekked up to Natenza, a small community about an hour away, and danced until the wee hours in the centro. It was funny because there were about 15 people in the playroom of this centro, and we were dancing so hard, the CD player kept skipping. If you stopped and listened, you could hear the steady beat of everyone´s feet pounding on the wooden slats that is the floor. It was great seeing everyone celebrate their past years, sad at the same time, too.

Last night was their last official day, so I joined them as they finished their last reports, scrambling to print out pages and pages of statistics and numbers on god knows what. Then the centro in Zumbi invited us for ´the last supper´ of chicken soup. The president, Julia, gave me my bowl and said with great pride, ´es criollo´, which means it´s criollo chicken. It´s a different type of chicken, I´m not too fond of it, but apparently it´s a big deal when they serve you criollo, mostly because it´s more expensive.

Overall, this was a blast to spend the past year with these people. I will never forget them nor what I have learned from them. I am definitely going to miss going into the campo and visiting families, just talking to the moms and learning about Ecuadorian life. Now, it is time for me to pursue other avenues. I am planning on working more with the school and more in Zamora. With wet eyes, it was hard saying goodbye to everyone.

But life must go on.

On an upnote, I leave for Peru tomorrow! My Dad and I are going down to Lima and Cuzco to explore Machu Pichu! Can´t wait! Get excited for some AMAZING pictures!!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I´m are some pictures, though!

I´ve noticed that throughout the past year, my entries have gotten to be less frequent. Sorry if this is somewhat boring for some of you, but lately things have been pretty normal, so the weird stories are just everyday life now. Also, I want to clear something up. I realize that the majority of my entries talk about me going out, partying, drinking, etc. However, I want to stress that this is NOT that frequent. There are more parties than ever in the US, but they are completely social and they don´t get out of hand. This is a very ¨fiesta-oriented¨ culture, and that´s where most of my ¨culture watching¨ happens. It´s where I learn the most about people and hence why I write so much about them. I apologize if I offended anyone or caused any unnecessary worry...this is not something that should cause grief.

Anyway, on that note. I have some pictures. They are a random bunch, but better than nothin´ right?

Here Chris and I are giving a charla in Vilcabamba on Swine Flu. I am SO SICK OF SWINE FLU....but apparently they can´t get enough info on it down here. Which is good I guess. We are demonstrating how easily germs can be spread, if you are on a bus, for example. Chris ¨sneezed¨ then threw the balloons at everyone, representing the germs that can get ya.

Brown Sugar and his neice Bélen. I teach her classes at the school, one of my favorite girls. She also helps out with the Tortilla every now and then.

La Tortilla...yapping at me before I left for work. She´s a chatter box!

Last night was the FODI graduation for 4 girls that have ¨grown up¨ and now have to go to ¨Kinder¨. They all dressed in the blue dresses and then draped the cloak and red hat....each girl got to wear it. It was really cute. The cape and hat is typical graduation wear here--from kinder to medical school all wear the capes.

Here are Grigs and I at the graduation. It would be TOTALLY framable if it weren´t for my killer sweaty pits, but was hot.´s nothing a little photoshop can´t handle.

Me with the lovely educators of San Pablo. In addition to the graduation, it was also like a despedida, or farewell party. All of the FODI workers did not get their contracts renewed, so they are all done September 15. They had a little baile for them to celebrate their work. It was ended by a heartbreaking speech by the community president. It´s really sad to watch all these people go, considering how much they have done for these communities. This was an amazing organization, aside from some flaws, I would totally want to work with them again. We shall see how it goes with the new is that he might not even continue FODI, but I´m not counting on anything at this point. Oh, and the lady to my left, Doña Rosa, is my Avon lady....

Well that´s about it. I´ll be missing most of the farewell parties because next week I have to go to Cayambe up near Quito for our Mid-Service conference. It will be great to see everyone from my Omnibus again...I´m anxious to see how everyone is holding up!