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, December 18, 2004

it's been a while! ... nits and navidad (Christmas)

well helloooo...
it feels like its been ages since i've written... i wasn't going to be able to write now but we've not gone to tulcan this weekend, it's been posponed until january...

so what's been happening in your lives? guess you're madly rushing round trying to buy christmas presents... definitely not the same craziness here as in england at christmas time, so i'm not sorry to be missing out on that part!... there are the odd adverts on tv but no where near the extent that we have and none of those ridiculous ones aimed at kids, which is refreshing!

guess you'd like to know abit about what i've been up to? last time i wrote i was about to head off to sing in some ¡Viva Quito! concerts celebrating the fundation of quito, and i wasn't sure if my voice would hold out... well it did!!! i did have a few coughing fits in some of the songs though (in the 2nd half when we sang five songs in a row, a medley...), very unprofessional but i couldn't help it!!! really enjoyed the concerts, so glad i was involved in them! though i didn't enjoy wearing my peuce coloured dress with green embroidery... mmmm.... i was truly beautiful! (not!!!) ... one interesting thing i discovered whilst talking to a fellow choirer (in english.. he wanted to practise) was that they don't like it (though probs just the younger generation) that people refer to The States just as America... to him he's American because he's on the continent of South America... so if we're refering to USA we should say USA not America... then i pointed out how us english are almost the opposite - we're 'on' the continent of europe but we in no way do we see ourselves as europeans, we're almost fiercely 'British' or English!!

because i was tied up with choir i didn't really get to do any of the quito celebrations... and on the day itself (6th dec) Bev and i took a road trip to the south of quito (to a valley but still part of quito) where stuart and janeth live (the other couple here long-term with LL in Quito)... which was rather comedy... cause of advice Bev had recieved from people at church, we decided to change the where we caught the bus from... this was a mistake... where we changed it to the buses were rather infrequent... we had to wait an hour for the right coloured bus!!! (which incidentally we only found out about coz we asked 2 policemen at the bus stop!! this long-term missionaries i think take for granted what they know and forget for us it's our first time of doing things and that we need specific instructions!!!) so eventually we got to where we were meant to get off but when Bev had gone before, she went in a car which is a slightly different, and she didn't have a clue where to go next... we wondered around abit lost then i asked a security guard who very helpfully pointed us in the right direction, and we got to their house crossing a wee river on a rickety bridge (which Bev really didn't like!!!)! We ended up arriving a lot later than planned but it was all ok in the end, and we had a lovely lunch and afternoon with their family and friends, and Bev met the woman who runs the project she's gonna get involved in! We had some really comedy rounds of UNO... the ecuadorian way of playing makes for lots of laughs... whenever you make a mistake you have to pick up 4 cards!! and everyone takes great delight in telling you when you've made a mistake!!

last week on friday i went to Santo Domingo, a 3 hour bus ride from Quito bus terminal, for the Latin Link Fiesta de Navidad (Christmas party)... i arrived at about 6pm...waited abit but couldn't see any sign of jules (the strider in SD)... so i tried ringing but couldn't get through - thankfully i had brought with me as an afterthought the other numbers of people in SD... and i got through!!! they were slightly surprized to know that i had arrived...( it turns out that Jules hadn't received the txt maria had sent through about my arrival time, mobiles can be abit temperamental), but they hopped in the car to come and pick me up... in the meantime i found a seat and was chatted to by a very chatty middle-aged venezualan man who also was waiting to be picked up. the majority of Latin Linkers live outside SD on the CLEE (training/retreat centre for pastors) and Orphaids (homes for children orphaned by AIDS) compound, and this is where i stayed... chilled, had something to eat and spent time chatting with Jules, Simon (strider in nicaragua who having just finished had come for a visit) and Clare (long-termer works in Orphaids amongst other things)...

next day up and peeling veg for our christmas dinner by 9am!!! Dave from Ambato and the others from Quito arrived midmorning nad pitched in organising and cooking. Had a great dinner (and everyone wore the christmas hats i had made! though in the ''heat'' of SD the colours ran with sweat so people had coloured foreheads!!) : turkey, gravy (!!!from Eng), brocoli, carrots, roasted potatoes, roasted parsnips (though nothing like yours dad!!!), cauliflower, stuffing (from Eng).... pudding: mince pies (with mincemeat from Eng, doesn't exist here) with brandy butter (!!! made by my fairself - surprise, surprise... you know, i'd never thought i'd have made it in ecuador!!!), choc cake, and gingerbread men - we were thoroughly stuffed!!!!

After washing and tidying up we played 'Dirty Santa'... everyone buys a present for $5 and puts it on the table... everyone is given a number. Number one goes to the table and picks up a present and opens it. Number 2 has 2 choices, they can either take the present of Number one (in which case number 1 chooses another from the table) or they choose one from the table... each present can only move hands 3 times, so if you have it the 3rd time it's yours for keeps. I ended up with a rather attractive fruit clock (i am being sarcastic!!) and some napkins but thankfully i was able to swop them afterwards for some chocs! those these were cocktail flavours (yukk) so then i made another swop with dave for his which were just normal ones!!

Then we had a good olde english sing song with a rather hotch potch mix of instruments... 2 flutes, 2 guitars, 3 recorders, and a keyboard (which i had a wee tinkle of later on which was really great, miss it!)... comedy coz all of us are amateurs but good we enjoyed ourselves which is the main thing! Retired to the house of Sally and Orlando (Brit + Bolivian) for the evening... for more food ( could barely move!) and for several games of Mafia which was funny! And that was our wee english christmas in ecuador.... next day went to jules' church which was interesting coz all the songs we sang we ''english'' ones translated into spanish... afterwards we walked up Bomboli (hill) to go vine-swinging but as it had been raining real heavy in the night it was far too slippery!! boo hooo!! lunch with Jules' ecua-family which was really nice then caught the bus home! i was greeted by a round of applause as i finally managed to open the door on my own!! I've been having real trouble with the lock!! (Joy - i'm sure you understand what i mean...)

oo a little bit about the bus journey... the journey to santo, takes you right up through the mountain, which is very foggy - at points you can barely see 3ft from the window.... i'd hate to drive in that, especially a big bus!!! it was soooooo nice to see greenery, and because of the wet and fog it made me long for a winter's day walk in an english wood with the dew dripping from the trees and that beautifully fresh wet smell... you don't see much greenery in quito... i miss the countryside! and it made me think as we passed all these wee mountainside communities that i'd love to have a wee patch of land of my own someday! big difference of buses here it that when it stops to pick people up, a lot of vendors swarm on with their wares... generally food but people with glasses (eyes not drinks), magazines, pretty much anything to make a few centavos.

now it's time for Remar news (which stands for Rehabilitation Marginal, by the way)... mondays in the kitchen... best job this week was cleaning slightly mouldying chickens (their skin was lookin abit green!)! slimy job! Card-making business is continuing to go well, though this week, and abit of last week, i've lacked workers.... the girls have had to go out selling coz Remar needs money to pay people a sort of christmas bonus that is required by the government of all employers for their employees (which i think is just the school teachers)... but despite that the orders have got finished... enlisted a few of the younger girls to help me. Last Friday the school held a presentation in celebration of the foundation of Quito, and each class prepared alittle piece... also some students from a related secondary school came and did some 'cheerleading', not actually i think it's baton twirling (the american influence) and some traditional dancing. Really enjoyed it, it was really good fun, i was very proud of the kids! i was meant to sing a song but Esteban (the headmaster) never asked me up, so i got away without singing... it was gonna be Come and go with me in spanish... Generally at Remar i'm continuing to build relationships with the 'staff' and kids, though still lack alot in my language... but Maria said yesterday she'd spoken to Tatiana and others, and they were happy with my contribution to life at Remar which was encouraging as it's hard to tell! - oo as you will have gathered from the title, this week i caught my first nits from the kids... grrr.... they've gone but think i'm gonna be paranoid forever now!!

last little bit for this week... weather... been very english this week with lots of rain, particulary yesterday, it was our time of drizzle for most of the day... there are two types of rain here.. either all-day drizzle, or extremely strong outburst in which you get soaked through... i got caught in this second type on monday.. thankfully i had a brollie but my feet got absolutely soaked... and it's took 3 days for my trainers to dry (no central heating)!!

well i think i have truly waffled on for long enough... there is soooo much more one could say but i'll be here for ages and you'll be there for ages!! doubt i'll get to update my blog on sat as it's christmas day... so i shall wish you all now A VERY, VERY, VERY, Happy, Joyfully, Peaceful, Restful Christmas!
christmas eve i've been invited to take part in a fiesta with Remar which should be good fun... not sure about christmas day plans.... but i get 7 days to take off around christmas/new year, so jules, clare, bev and i are gonna go to the beach for new years....bit different!!! God bless you all oodles, love jo xxxx


Blogger SarahAshton said...

Lady! It's been ages since I've checked out your blog (so sorry!) and I'm glad to see you're doing well- but you've been up to an amazing amount of stuff. Sounds like a car-aaazzzzy rollercoaster! i'll e-mail soon.
Happy Christmas!
ps. I'm at work on Christmas eve! it's a good job your blog has meant that I've not actually done any work...!

2:34 AM


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