October 8th

Noah Applebaum - Ecuador


November 13, 2014

I frantically opened my eyes to an intolerable screeching noise. I checked my phone for the time. It was 5:42 AM. The screeching sound was coming from outside a small window in the top corner of my room. A dim light from the rising sun was illuminated the pig pen. I realized that the pen was the source of this deafening noise. Still being half asleep, I drifted back into my deep sleep once the pig noise stopped.

A few hours later, I awoke to a knocking at my door and a voice asking “Noah, quieres desayuno? (Do you want breakfast?)” It was my 20 year-old brother, Klever, around for his routine wake-up knock. I slowly walked out of my room as Klever proceeds to tell me that we finally have running water, but temporarily. I finally had the ability to take a real shower after a little over a week. I look down at my dirty Chelsea Jersey and sweatpants with excitement in my eyes. Until this morning I had taken bucket showers every couple of days. Unfortunately, I knew this luxury wouldn’t last, as our water was up by noon. Luckily, I knew I could return to my room later and watch Netflix because even though we do not have running water, we have WIFI. 21st century priorities, right?

After drying off, I headed to the kitchen for breakfast. As always, it was rice, some sort of potatoes (in this case French Fries), and type of scrambled egg. As a teenage boy who loves to eat, I can never complain with a breakfast like that. I tried to pay attention to what they were saying but the accent that is found in this part of the Andes Mountains is fast and hard to understand.

As I lifted my coffee, my mom turned to me and asked if I had heard the pigs this morning. Of course, I had to say yes. She laughed and apologized and turned back to her food. Since no one was going to explain, I asked what happened, she turned again, smiled, and said “Los chanchos fueron castrados!” I choked on my piping hot coffee. I looked at her in astonishment, and asked in English, “THE PIGS WERE CASTRATED?!” I suddenly felt bad for cursing them for waking me from my slumber.

About an hour later, I finished getting ready for the day and walked out of my room to see my whole family sitting in the living room. I told them that I was off to work. My mom put down her sewing needle down and looked out the window. She looked back at me and told me that because it was raining out, I wasn’t going to work. I looked at her in confusion and replied “mande?” She explained that when it rains in the mountains here, the temperature drops drastically. I walked over to the door and opened it to feel the temperature and the moment the door opened, Paco, Paco, and Paca, our three cats, raced into the house. That was a clear sign as to how cold it was.

About an hour later, I found myself reading in my room. I heard a ZAP and suddenly the power went out. My 18 year-old brother, Santiago, yells from living room, “oh Noahhhhh?

Si?” I yelled back.

Todo bien?” To which I replied “Si.”

He continued and yelled, “oh Noahhhh?

I frustratingly yelled back. “QUE?!

No hay luz (There isn’t light)” He quickly replies.

Obviously there wasn’t light… there wasn’t any power!

I realized that on a rainy day, without power, there wasn’t much to do other than to take a siesta (nap). So I listened to the rain and closed my eyes and drifted off.

And that was my Wednesday morning of October 8th in El Naranjito, Ibarra, Imbabura.

Noah Applebaum