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, March 05, 2005

Asbestos calls a halt...

Well here begins a lengthy story, actually I’ll keep it short so as not to bore you…. my wonderful cluster, home, in st thoms gave me 100squids after I asked them if they’d like to contribute to sorting out the swings at Remar, coz there’s only one and there are like 60 kids or something at the school!! It was supposed to be a christmas gift, but things haven’t panned out like I’d thought so it’s only been THIS week that work has started on renovating the swings!

Los Ingleses (the English, well actually and an American)
A group of English gap yearers had arrived in Ecuador with Venture Co (no, i’ve not heard of them either) to spend a month renovating the guarderia. As part of their work they were going to do the manual labour on the swings and playground too, to restore them! So they came on monday and everything started off well, working hard sanding down the wood so we could varnish and paint it all later on in the week – which you’ll be pleased to hear I didn’t leave them to do all by themselves, I chipped in for half an hour or so sanding away during a break from card-making…

A discovery…
But then wednesday came and all were very tense and pallid (is that the right word?). They’d discovered the roof that had been taken off (and was just lying by the side of the building) was made of asbestos….and they had looked up on the net all about it, so were suitably worried about continuing work on the nursery… eventually the head guy in England was rung and his decision was get the team out of there, they’re not to continue! Which means they’ve gone… not sure if they can return now that it’s all been “cleared away”? It’s been very disappointing all round and has also provided an example of cultural differences in mentality, i.e. of ‘health and safety’- here it doesn’t seem to exist, no-one knew the dangers of asbestos, and when they knew, they didn’t seem to fussed…Also I think they don’t seem to worry so much about the future here, the possibility of developing lung cancer in 15 years (or whatever, I don’t actually know much about the topic) time doesn’t resonate in their thoughts… they seem to live a lot more for the now.. this has it’s good and bad sides, just as has our preoccupation (I think it’s fair to say) of building for the future (so much so that we forget to enjoy and make the most of the present!). We can definitely learn from each other!

What to do?
So they left, and I thought ‘oh no, what we gonna do with the swings now???’ but tati was on the case and she’s got a few guys in the rehab programme continuing the work… we’ve bought some paint and ordered some new metal hanging bits and bobs (sorry, don’t have a clue of technical names!!!), so the work is continuing and hopefully will be finished next week! Yeay!! Finally!!! But as for the nursery, don’t know what’s gonna happen with that… it’s all abit of a mess…

The week’s moments of note
One day as I was catching the trole home I was entertained by an ‘Annie’, a wee girl of about 9 or 10 I reckon, with a voice way larger than her body – singing at the top of her lungs some random Spanish love songs to earn a few centavos– it’s takes guts to do that on a packed trole! Such confidence!
Was rather taken back by a man in Juan Marcet (a big stationery type store) the other day. I was standing behind him patiently waiting to be served at the big sheets of paper and card desk (make sense??), he turned round, saw me there and seeing the other papers I had in my hand asked me , what I felt was rather rudely ‘What’s that for?’ – I mean honestly, who asks a complete stranger why they’re buying something - a wee bit personal I felt… so I rather cagely replied ‘for making cards’… he then proceeded to try his English out on me… arggghhh!!!!!! I felt so awkward and found him rather rude but tried to be gracious! Hmmm.. then yesterday on the trole, this type of thing happened again… somebody got up to leave their seat, so I looked round to see if there was anybody more deserving of it than myself – there was an old man, so I offered it him but he declined, I sat down. So then he comes over and starts talking to me, I was absolutely exhausted after a hectic week so had absolutely no energy or desire to talk – but in an effort not to be rude and ruin relations between cultures, I did my best to be obliging in replying to questions when I REALLY didn’t want to. Why is that coz you’re a foreigner, everyone (slight exaggeration) feels it’s their right to force themselves upon you, making you talk, when you’re COMPLETE strangers!! Grrr!!!

Card mania – cards coming out of my ears…
ok, well not literally!! I have to be honest this week has been tough at points coz of the card-making, it’s meant I’ve had to stay late most days and with me having a cold, ahs left me quite exhausted!
You’re probably asking how an earth can you get so tired making cards? Well, when you’re in charge of organizing everyone and everything (about 8 people, who tend to change each day, such that there’s normally one new person to be taught), and don’t have a seat, and are trying to do a million and jobs at once, whilst people are demanding to know how many cards have been made – it can get abit much!!! But praise God, it calmed down towards the end of the week, and although I’ve not got all done that I needed to, it was fine. Because I was having to think of so many things at once, it meant I didn’t really get to join in the conversations much. But I have enjoyed my week, and was especially encouraged to hear that this week for one of the women (I had a mixture of adolescents and mums to work with), the cards had been a real therapy for her as she’s trying to get over a drugs habit! Part of it is that we have been listening to worship music all the time (they’re not really allowed to listen to the music of the world – bit weird but I have to respect their beliefs!). I didn’t have time to do an exact sum of how many cards we’ve made for this order of 500, but I reckon it’s 400 and something, including those we made the week before, so we’re doing well, and I hope we’ll finish on monday, then have a break! Yeay!

This week heard several ‘british’ worship songs sung in Spanish which has been cool… including ‘Better is one day in your courts’ ‘When the music fades’ and ‘How great thou art’.. HCJB radio station was on in the kitchen today I heard some Tim Hughes, Redders, and Delirious, so felt quite at home!!

Continuing to get along well with Ane, she’s been helping abit with the card-making business but I think she’s still finding it abit weird adjusting!! Well, it has only been 2 weeks! Do you remember Clara?? We were having a laugh in the kitchen before this big card order but now she’s not around in the girls home as she’s been sent to live in the Mitad el Mundo (the boys home, about 40mins from where I am ) and doesn’t come in anymore, so we don’t get to see each other now! Sniff sniff! But hopefully we’ll be able to continue our friendship and I’m gonna try to make it out to visit!
Other friends wise, had great fun with the ‘youth’ of my church last night… we had our usual meeting then went out a get something to eat… we went to a sort Turkish Arabian bar/restaurant… and I had a fab time, managing to converse quite easily (though not understand all that was said) and i really feel (finally) that I can make good friends with this bunch. They’re always having a laugh and making jokes, and they even laughed at a few things I said (not jokes but comments), so that must mean I’m really improving my Spanish! Although I make mistakes ALL the time, I feel confident and comfortable to speak with them… we also had a funny time trying one of those Arabian pipe thingy’s – with flavour of fruits but I didn’t like it much as it tasted of anis (urgghhh!!!) and having a cold it irritated my throat – but it was interesting to try! I also discovered, that they are allowed to go out ‘dancing’ –I had been told before I came that generally Latin American churches are EXTREMELY conservative and don’t allow people to go out dancing…but last night I discovered this church isn’t like that, yeay!!! So hopefully soon we’re all gonna go out dancing salsa or something – what I’d really like though is a bit of hip-hop to do some crazy body flinging too (emmie!!!) but we’ll see!

Connoisseur’s almost on holiday!
Not many new things tried this week… a fruit called Lima, it’s like a lemon but not… it’s not sharp like a lemon, more dulce (sweet), though you have to eat only the inside of each segment coz that skin is bitter. Eaten melloco’s, a sort of beany, potatoey thing which to me tasted abit like a corn on the cob. Also Jugo (juice) de Cerezos (I think that’s right?? Well yous wont’ know!! J) wasn’t that nice, tasted like unripe plums! Hmmm….

Oo !que emocion¡(how exciting!)
Great news is that my parents and bro are coming to visit me, they arrive on the 20th may for 3 weeks, which means they’ll be with me for my birthday (1st june)! Very much looking forward to them coming and Armando y Paquita are excited too! Yeay!!

That’s all my ramblings for this week, i'm looking forward to the next week, to finishing this card order and actually having some time to spend with the kids, I feel I’ve not seen them in AGES!!! Hope your week’s have been good, that you’re all well and enjoying life! Don’t forget to keep in touch!!! Oodles and oodles of love jo xxxx


Blogger Helen said...

Hey Jo!!!! Great to catch up with your news. Exciting about the swings too. Will look forward to seeing some piccies when they're all finished. Am enjoying a little bit of spring sunshine through my window just now - tis nice. love Helen A x

5:42 AM

Blogger Emmie said...

Bailamos, let the rhythm take you over, BAILAMOS....

4:24 AM


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