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, April 16, 2005

Strike one...

Well what a week it’s been!! In a sense a lot has happened and in another it feels like not much at all…

Arty relaxtion…
I’d been thinking how I’d love to join in the taller (workshop) with some of the activities just to have some relaxation, some time to let go in a creative manner but alass the programme is not for me!! But this sunday I got to get creative, it was actually work but I enjoyed it!! Tati asked me to make a load of signs for the bedroom doors, to give them all names – so had fun buying bright coloured card and foamy stuff to make letters that stand out!! Spent like 4 hours on sunday afternoon making them – 4 hours? to make a few bedroom signs? You must be thinking, but ah-ha, it wasn’t just that, I also made all the signs for the ‘new timetable’ of activities! It was very satisfying work!!

Timetable, smimetable…
Well, so much for helping with this new timetable of activities for the kids that i was telling yous about last week… I don’t really know what happened but not one afternoon did I get to join in with what the 'new tias' were doing!! Tati had also spoken with me about getting the girls more organized in helping do chores, and we came up with a timetable for that but the very day I put it up I discovered there was a clash with another timetable, about which I had not been told!! So wednesday on my ‘unscheduled’ day off (coz of ‘el paro’) I set to once again and came up with a new schedule – not least the fact that 2 girls leaving Remar also put a spanner in the works!!! But I think that it’s now sorted, just a matter of getting the girls to actually stick to it, and not to moan too much!!

Because of Lucio, I’m burnt!!!
I’ll explain… I said on sat that the minister of education had called an end to classes to support the strike (paro), so monday the kids had no classes (though tues the minister had changed his mind, and all were back in classes!!! Grrr) – so monday morning, Tati asked us to entertain the kids so they didn’t get up to mischief – doing some kind of art or something… but anne had the great (?) idea if taking them to the park! Well it seemed like a great idea…. So about 10.30, we had all the kids (those that live in the girls home) ready and waiting at the gate to leave, 24 kids in all with just me and anne to look after them!! Argghhhh!!! And we had to walk half an hour to the park, which wasn’t very popular with the kids, especially the little ones (group ranged from 2 ½ to 13) who had to be carried part of the way – all were saying they were really tired but miraculously when we arrived their energy was replenished and off they went running round the playground!! We stayed there about an hour and half, then had the long walk back, which was slightly stressful with the older kids running off ahead, not wanting to wait for the ickle ones!! So, later on in the afternoon, my face started to feel abit tight and at this point I was talking with anne and tatianna and they informed me I was rather red!! Ahhhh, how embarrassing, I HATE being burnt – so I ended up with a red face (back and front), neck, bit of shoulder, and now have a rather ridiculous pattern of brown and white on body! Grrr!!! My mistake was forgetting to put suncream on when it wasn’t sunny!! Never again!!! BUT I hold to the fact it’s Lucio’s fault, coz if it wasn’t for him, the schools wouldn’t have been in paro!!!

People in the streets…
Well the paro turned out not to be a big as hoped for – the spectulated 10 mil indigenas certainly didn’t appear! Where I live all was very quiet, though a lot quieter than usual – there were buses and taxis functioning but not many – though the trole bus wasn’t working at all… The Supreme Court of Justice – what a joke! – (La Corte de Suprema Justicia) a few blocks from my house, was surrounded though… There were demonstrations in various parts of the city, mainly in the centre – but Lucio had put some 700 policemen in the streets surrounding the Government Palace so that no-one could get near him. There were some quite violent clashes (oo with plenty of tear gas!) between the police and demonstrators, with reportedly 79 people injured. But, it seems nothing has changed!!! Hmmmm… although lots of people didn’t join in the paro, they seem to be protesting in the nighttime in their 1000s… not sure how this will end!! Hopefully Lucio will do the right thing, and stop his dictatorial activities and bring back democracy! Douglas (husband of Maria Augusta, Scottish) says it’s never a dull moment in terms of the news in a Latin American country, not like England (this week I read on, all about how cookie monster is ‘going on a diet’! how is that top news??)

Feeling all studenty again!!
Oo it was great, I went out with anne and 2 ecuadorian friends of her’s to a bar… we were supposedly going to a ‘book reading’ (hmm??!!!) but when we arrived, all the people inside looked so bored out of their minds and all over 50, that we decided to go elsewhere!!! So we went to ‘El Pobre Diablo’ – I had been thinking about how much I wanted to hear some jazz, and as we entered much to my delight, that’s what was playing! Had a really good evening, chatting, chuckling, munching (delicious fruit salad served with muesli, yoghurt and honey – tradition here!), and there was a really lovely atmosphere in the bar – hopefully I might go then one day when there’s live jazz!! That’d be cool… though what I really want, is to hear my bro play!! A lass, I shall have to wait awhile!!

And on that farm he had a dog..
So this week, we didn’t have a full week of classes firstly coz of the paro, and then yesterday we didn’t give primero their class coz some students from a college came to give a party to the kids (oo how I wished I had my camera with me)…but in 3 of the 4 classes we managed to get them starting to sing Old MacDonald!!! Very exciting!! I don’t know much about how long it takes kids to learn, but I reckon 3 weeks to learn 14 animal names is a long time??? (and some don’t know all, for example in the test we had to give the classes, Segundo, averaged 5 out of 14, and that was with selecting the correct word from the board!!) But hey ho, we’ll keep pressing on!! Oo today we celebrated, slightly belated coz the day is 13th abril, ‘el dia del maestro’ (the day of the teacher), and we got included – a wee bit of tasty cake, cola, and nibbles and got given wee cards from the ‘local council’ supervisor for education! So there you go… I’m officially recognized as a teacher!!

So yep, another week has gone, and now it’s just over a month until my parents and my bro come to visit!! Yeah!! Very exciting!! Well I’ve given yous all my news, whether it been exciting or deadly boring, it’s now time for yous to give me yours!!!

oo wrote this this morning but am uploading it now.... check out this link for BBC lowdown on ecuadorian political situ!!!
Lucio has now declared that the quiteños (people of quito) now have no rights - which means for example that the police can effectively enter any home and take what they want... obivously the people are upset!! and one form is protest is an almost continual tooting of car horns in the streets to the rythm of 'Lucio fuera' (Lucio out), and people waving white flags from their cars to signify the desire for a free country! not sure what'll happen...
oo random point... in the internet cafe got some dodgy dance music playing, and i heard a voice say 'this is Gatecrasher at Republic Sheffield with Hallam FM' - how weird is that?!!!!! must be listening over the net?


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