"Every planet has its own weird customs. About a year before we met, I spent six weeks on a moon where the principal form of recreation was juggling geese. My hand to God. Baby geese - goslings! They were juggled."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Claimjumping aspirantes

Hmm... the last few days. We: 1) started our organic gardens, 2) learned about dengue, malaria, fever, TB, and 3) went to Quito for a Peace Corps office tour.

Starting our jardines gardins gardens last Monday was by far the most engaging activity I've participated in during training so far. We cycled through several work stations, including: tilling and fertilizing the plots, worm beds, seed beds, seedling care and transplant. When we cycled through them all in small groups, the field was ready for planting and all us aspirantes lined up on one side. On of the count of three, we all ran out as language groups claimjumper-style to nab our preferred plot of land because this is, after all, a competition. Our group got our first pick:

I'll let you use your imaginations about the malaria/dengue/etc. talk, but we got our anti-malarial medications (in cute paper bags with our names on them like prizes). My medication: the one that makes some people go crackers and have insane dreams. I get to start it any day and can't WAIT! sarcasm. I already started having crazy lucid dreams ever since I was feverish last week, so I don't believe they need any help. But it's way better than getting a fatal form of malaria.

Next! Today we all migrated west to Quito to visit the Peace Corps office. The journey involves a bus to Quito, a bus to a bus station, another bus somewhere else...etc. We made it with the help of our language group facilitators and went on a grand tour of the place. The best part was visiting the NRC director's office, where there is a map of pins designating previous omnibus volunteer locations, and pink pins that designate sites where our omnibus will go - it was here that I suddenly got a revelation that I knew where I wanted to go. A pink pin sat right near the slopes of the perpetually erupting Sangay volcano in the Oriente/Sierra border. Another pink pin was nearby. I know, I'm flexible and will go wherever they send me because that's what I originally agreed to when I came here. But having a site right on Ecuador's most active volcano? Yes, please! I'm so eager to find out where I'm going, but I'm trying to wait without reservations or expectations.

It took a long time to get back to Tumbaco, and when we finally made it, our language group only had a little time to start thinking about making a community map from the town center to my host family's house. I randomly ran into Paola yesterday while walking through the town center (which is bustling and active in the afternoon), so she took me around on a paseo to point out important places like health centers, schools, churches, a *vegetarian restaurant*, etc.

Speaking of vegetarian...I feel really lucky to be with my Ecuadorian host family. They completely understand and respect my decision to be a vegetarian, and all my meals have been problem-free. They're always great meals, but sometimes they're spectacular. The other day, Paola made me a tofu dinner (from a bag of dried tofu). I had to ask three times, tofu?! No way! This morning, I had toast with a slice of queso and tomato on top. I had two and wanted so many more! Yuuuum. They also tolerate my completely random homework questions like, "What are three Ecuadorian words for 'friend'?" or "What is the name of the municipio administrator?" (no one seems to know).

No comments:

Post a Comment