Blog 3

Blog 3

Pimampiro is beautiful and welcoming. It’s in the mountains
in northern Ecuador, about two hours’ drive from the Colombian border and about
an hour and a half by bus to Ibarra, the capital of the province of Imbabura.
The people are very friendly; everyone greets each other on the street with a
“Buenos dias/buenas tardes/buenas noches.” My Spanish is improving, and I’ve
managed to make a few friends as well. Some of my friends asked me to be “la
madrina” of their soccer team and I still have no idea what that actually

I’ve been working at my apprenticeship in the Vibrant Village
Foundation of Ecuador in Paragachi, which focuses on “ayuda social”, especially
improving nutrition and supporting organic agriculture in the region.

I’ve also started giving English classes in the local school
in Paragachi. It is an elementary school, with 7 grade levels and kids from the
age of about 5 to 11 or 12. There are 60 or so students in the school but only
two teachers – Maria Luisa and Milton.

The other day we had a “simulacro” of a fire at the school.
The teachers and firefighters constructed a pretty sizeable hut of cardboard
and wood and actually set it on fire in the middle of the playground. The older
kids then ran back and forth with little cups of water to put it out. Two kids
pretended to be reporters, with fake microphones and cameras, and ran around
asking questions. Two other little girls were the “nurses”, they had hats made
out of cardstock and put band-aids on the “injured” kids that were carried over
by the “paramedics”. After the fire was put out, with a little help from the
fireman’s hose, there were 5 speeches. A man in a pinstripe suit, presumably
from the Ministry of Education, thanked the firefighters, teachers, and
children. At one point I was also personally thanked as a “representative of
the foundation.”

Basically, all is well. I don’t have anything particularly
poignant to stay. Life here is just starting to feel routine and I’m becoming
accustomed to it, except for maybe eating potatoes at every meal – my grandma keeps telling me she wants me to leave Ecuador very fat.