Here are the thoughts of Joanna nee Lake as she spends time in Ecuador, and beyond... Disciple, Fairtrade Freak, Psychologist in the making. Now part of the Blundell Jones clan.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

a bit of culture

hello everyone!!

first let me just say thanx so much for all your emails... i'm doing my best to reply to you all coz i value you all a lot!! i'm sorry that when i do reply my emails are soo short, it's impossible to write loads to each of you!! hope you understand!!

so this week... hmmm... not been to Remar once! not been in for over a week now and really don't know if i'll be able to go in on monday! although i've not found Remar easy (knowing what am i actually meant to be doing) i'd prefer to be there than not, as that's what i'm here for!!!! The problem is that the students in the university are demonstrating against the goverment, there are people vehemently for the president and people vehemently against... when students demonstrate it involves rock throwing at police and the police retaliating with tear gas, so it's not very safe to be there at the mo! it's disappointing but there's nowt Bev and i can do except pray! for abit more info on the political situ, check out these links from the dear old Beeb:

so as i haven't much news from Remar, i thought i'd tell you lots of little random bits about life here...

Seeing TV being made - mon to thursday bev and i spent with Maria working on more designs for the card making business (hopefully we start 'teaching' the girls on tues) in her office at Asomavision. Asomavision is a Christian TV station, and Maria and her hubby are the head techincal engineering people. So whilst we were there this week we got to listen in on some programmes being recorded - one seemed abit like an Ecuadorian version of Richard and Judy!! They have alsorts of programmes, not all made by them - some are taken from other countries - whilst watching the other day they had an advice session with some counsellors, they also do cooking programmes, make-up, fashion, kids stuff, womens programmes, alsorts! though i've not actually seen any of it on the TV yet... i tend to watch 'trashy' novelas (soaps)...

Food - food has been fine so far... for those of you that know what my stomach's like (nuff said!!) it's been a relief to find out they don't do spicy food here like the mexicans!!! Well they do do it, but you can chose to put the chilli sauce on!! My Ecua-mum is a very good cook... generally in the evening we have homemade soup of various kinds (last night, bit o meat with chocra - bit like our sweetcorn only less sweet, and other veg) which sometimes is eaten with canguil (popcorn - obviously the un-toffeed variety). this is followed by meat of some sort with rice (mostly) or potatoes with menestra (lentil stew) or other veg. what is really great here is the FRESHLY made fruit juices (with many fruits you've never seen before in your life!) which have no artifical additives, it's just the fruit pulp, water and some sugar (so prob not that good for your teeth - oo thinking of teeth, they drink alot of fizzy drinks here!!) Paquita makes them not daily but very often - today we've had strawberry (m m mmmm). I think my favourite so far was Badea, which to me tastes abit like passionfruit/guava. I really wish fruit was as cheap here as in england, i'd love to make my own juices!!

generally we eat out for lunch - this week whilst at Asoma, we've eaten at the nearest place which is a chinese! different taste to english chinese or to what i cool but it's really good value for money, though i can NEVER eat all they give me... yesterday i had deliciously fried chicken, rice, chips, wee salad and fruit juice for $3, about 1.50!!!! the other day we had a bit of orientation in the old part of town and got lunch for $1.25!!! about 70p!! crazy!! fried chicken places are very popular here, as i remember they were in Guatemala, and joey there are Camperos here (remember my 'green' incident!)... lots of places too that sell the traditional soup, then meat, menestra and rice, as well as McDs (which i've steered clear of, and shan't eat!! though i have to eat nestle!!! arghh, so hard!!), pizza hut and KFC, and almost everything whenever you are comes with 'cola' (fizz).

Weather - the highest it's been is 27 oC and the lowest (that i've noticed) 9 oC - i can't believe there's been snow in sheffield and elsewhere in england this week!! i can't imagine it!! It's generally in the early 20's, though there's usually a thunder storm in the afternoon and then it can get really quite cold! But on the whole this temp suits me just fine! It's generally sunny but also prone to being overcast so i have to put on my sun-tan lotion, don't want to get burnt - i'd stand out even more then!!!

Church - only been to one church, that's the one my ecua-parents go to, and also my mentor... Bev's family are catholic so she doesn't go to church with them, but has found a pentecostal stylee like she's used to... so i've been going to Siloe, its evangelical erring more to the baptist side - it's very different to what i'm used to - stopping between each of the songs for a little word or expounding of the lyrics, very different style too, not like our old gareth or paul at stthom's... before the service, there's a bible study class, one for each of the different groups in the church - i went to the jovenes one for the first time last sunday ('youth' - ages ranging from 16 up to 30+ i think) which was good, i managed to follow it better than the talk in the service - because people can butt in a say what they think, say what they understand, which means it's easier to maintain concerntration than when it's one guy!! I think i'm gonna stick with it and get to know the people there...

Family culture- one thing i've learnt is the importance of family here - generally families live close together, and are big (Paquita one of 8, though my generation the families are smaller). Maria said she didn't know how an ecuadorian would cope if they didn't have a family. Families are the key, ecuadorians tend to have fewer friends than we have in england because they are so much closer to their families - infact each sat or sun, most 'children' will return to visit their parents for the afternoon/evening.

so i think that's about it for now, no other news, the choir is going well, starting to make 'friends' with some of my fellow choir members, the songs are going well i think but the pronunication of words can be a prob sometimes!! haven't got the hang of the national anthem yet though (it's very hard when we just sing it through once in a week, coz obviously 'everyone' esle knows it!!!)... hope you're all well, keep in touch with news from old blighty or the part of the world you're in! love jo xxx

p.s. ooo bro, i've done what you said and bought myself a less gringo bag (2 squid- traditional sort of bag, think Toybox stuff)!!! i also bought a very exciting rainbowry jumpery thing for 5 squid. xx


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