Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2 in a month, not too shabby

Well for those of you who were used to reading my blog like every week and seeing something new, Im sure you have realized that I am not the best at keeping it updated anymore. But as I have said in many other posts I am determined to change that and to start writing more frequently. So here goes the SECOND post for Febrero, wahhooo (baby steps people, baby steps)

Life as an AmbateƱa: Febuary came and went like every single month has here: FAST. Mal was here, which now, seems like FOREVER AGO....I went to quito with my counterpart on HIV/AIDS. Apparently the Univesity Tecnica de Ambato is part of 8 or 9 Univesities around the country that are collaborating on how to face the HIV/AIDS issue here in Ecuador. Obviously the Universities on the coast have a much higher population of people living with HIV/AIDS but it was neat to meet up, share ideas and have the Ministerio de Salud come talk to us. We had the meeting in the United Nations building, which automatically makes you feel kinda special..hehe

That same day was Chino´s birthday so I rushed back just in time to be part of the party that his family threw for him at his house. It was nice to be surrounded by friends and family (all ecuadorian). I gave him his shirt. For those of you who do not know, Chino is a huge fan of Roger Federer (tennis player) so for his birthday I bought him a very nice (and pricy) Roger Federer shirt. The only reason why I agreed to spend so much was because all of the proceeds go towards his foundation that focuses on supporting children in the "New Brighton" township in Port Elizabeth (South Africa)as well as the "Sululta District" in Ethiopiat So I was able to give a great gift and donate money at the same time! The shirt is red with two white letters "RF". Chino opened the present and as his dad passed by and said, "Raquel Freire?" !!!!!! (Freire is Chino´s last name) luckily it was taken lightly and everyone just laughed...

After Chino´s birthday was the start of CARNIVAL!!! One of the most craziest times here in Ecuador. Ambato´s festivities are called "la fiesta de la flor y la fruta" because we are known for flowers and fruit I guess...lol..anyway carnival started on friday the 17th and ended on tuesday the 21st. During these 5 days there were tons of different musical performances, cultural events, and really fun parties at night. We went out every single night(except monday) to a differnt discoteca that had been created, just for fiestas.

I had some PC friends come visit me from the coast which was really great. My camera was also stolen, which is quite unfortunate because I had so many pictures from carnival, along with pics from when Mal was in Ecuador. So frustrating. Then about 20 minutes later my phone was almost stolen. Pretty ridiculous. The next day we were out to eat with some friends and one of my male ecuadorian friends blackberry was stolen literally right off the table from where we were eating!!! People weren´t joking when they said that the robbers come out to play.

But needless to say it was a great experience, people played with foam, flour, and of course consumed a ton of alcohol. The parade was really neat. The theme was of different countries around the world. Interestingly enough some of these countries were, "Africa", "Hawaii" and "Arabia"...that has got to say something about Ambato´s knowledge/interpretation on what different "countries" and/or cultures around the world means. But there was lots of good music and dancing. Chino´s sister presented in the Colombian group. She did a great job, and looked amazing...too bad I don´t have fotos to post so that you can see...oh well..

Work wise, I feel as though I am at a transition stage. Eulalia and I threw around some ideas today and it looks like we will be doing the "lavado de manos" program with students who are studying to be teachers in schools. This way they can be trained to go out and replicate what they learn (hopefully). I also want to do the world map with some tourism students that Paige (fullbright volunteer) and I have been working with. On top of that we are looking at doing more promotion of the addictions and mental health program and combining safe sex practices with that. I am also in contact with Adam, another PCV living in Patate (community outside of Ambato) on possibly doing something together. It seems as though these PC goals will be met sooner or later, lol...just gotta remember that everything takes time!!!

Alright, enough for now. Counting down the days till I see the lovely faces of Rut Rut, Sally Bowers, and Howard Fenton....

18 DAYSSSSS!!!!!

chau :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Feb. 13th

Exactly a month ago I wrote an entry, what happens to the time?!? seriously....Back at work today after having a great 10 days with one of my good friends from college. It was really interesting to realize that many of the things I see as day to day activities are considered very different back in the states. I guess that means that I´ve become some what integrated. Reflecting on these past 8 months there have been very many ups and downs...mainly ups to be honest, but also lots of "getting used to" cultural differences.

My new goal for this next semester is to get more active within the student body. I want to work first hand with students and hopefully get different groups on campus started. I haven´t done any charlas on my own yet and I feel that after all that training we received back in the summer I should put some of it to work, right? I have an opportunity to go into a school and do handwashing workshops with kids so hopefully I can schedule a meeting with the rector of the school to get that started!

My family comes will be here in about a month. It seems like forever ago that we were planning for them to come down and now I am actually going to be seeing them :) Im hoping they will enjoy their time here and can put their spanish skills to work because translating really does get tiring after awhile.

My apartment is doing well and I´ve developed a schedule for coming home every day for lunch and then walking or taking the bus back to work in the afternoon. It prooves to be much more cost affective than eating out every day. I´m trying to get a running schedule down after work and then going to spend time with Chino and his family. I usually end up eating dinner with them at their house.

The weather has been mild. Technically we are in winter, which means lots of rain, but really here in Ambato it doesnt rain a ton. It will rain every day but either in the morning or in the afternoon. So you know if you wake up with rain, the afternoon will be sunny or vice versa. Im hoping as we move into March the weather will get better for when my fam comes. When my friend was here she was really surprised at how cold Ecuador was, haha.

Alright, they just cleaned the floors in my office and Im about to pass out from the fumes so Im gonna go get some fresh air!!

Sending love to whoever reads these posts, lol