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, May 07, 2005

hmm, this week...

Baby shower
Well my week started off with my first ever ‘baby shower’, an American tradition which has been taken up here in the last ten years or so… one of paquita’s niece’s is going to give birth very soon so it’s like a kind of celebration before the baby arrives. So what does a baby shower consist of?? This one, lots of wee games related to baby stuff, chatting, and eating (of lots of sweet things!!). it was good fun though I didn’t like the bit where I had to play a game on my own – during the time it takes a match to burn out, you have to say as many words as possible related to babies – I was like, ‘no, I don’t know the words in spanish’, and the niece’s mum said in English then… but I was like no don’t make me, I can’t remember the English words either!! But they made me do it, and I felt absolutely awful in front of everyone, REALLY on the spot, like EXTREMELY and uncomfortably so, and I only came up with 3 or 4 words!! If I’d have wanted to do it, maybe I would have come up with more, but I’m not so sure!!

La bebe…
The wee one I was telling yous about who had been abandoned… is back in hospital again, she’s had some kind of infection in her hip so they’ve had to operate again, which is serious stuff for a wee baby!! But amazingly she’s doing really well, and Beatrice has definitely fallen in love with her, she’s spending most of her time at the hospital looking after her! That’s a weird thing about hospital’s here, that the relatives do what a nurse would normally do in England – guess it’s coz they have to pay for it all, it’s not free health care! It turns out, as we thought, that the lady that left her was the mum, but she doesn’t want the baby, feels no love or care for her – sad story… I think she’s going to be living remar soon and leaving the baby, so not sure how that will work out…

The worst ever far
- not that I’m a pessimist or anything!! Anne’s been ill this week with a stomach infection so didn’t turn up on tuesday, which meant I had to give the class to cuarto/cinto (4th/5th grade) on my own – their teachers weren’t in the class either as there was a parent-teacher meeting – I was completely alone, and it was completely demoralizing!!! They just didn’t listen or pay attention, completely without respect for me, it was virtually impossible to give the class, though the majority did end up doing the worksheet I gave them – I left utterly dejected, and it took me a wee while to let it go! But praise the Lord for his providence – that I didn’t have to give the second class – tati wanted me to be with the teenagers doing the cards because there was a social services inspection!! I really could NOT have coped with them again in that state! But, in the difficulty and dejection, there was a silver lining – some kids that just saved it for me – firstly pepe, I was teaching them the colours and using the rainbow song, and he was singing along so energetically, and got me to repeat a couple of bits he hadn’t got the hang of!!! Then en recreo (in breaktime) Vanessa came in and said, oo give me the class (she’d been helping clean the house) and continued to enthusiastically fill in the worksheet! So it’s not all bad!!!

Fiesta, fiesta, fiesta…
Only 2 classes were given this week, these ecuadorians are always having some kind of fiesta!!! Thursday we didn’t give classes as the boys had been invited to play a footie match, and the girls had an outing to the parque… then yesterday there was a celebration for ‘Dia de la Madre’ (Mother’s Day = 8th may), so no classes then either!! We’ve not given a full week of classes in I don’t know how long?? What with getting rid of presidents and teacher-training courses!! Oh well!

Back on the cards…
as I wasn’t in classes, I was put in charge of card-making – the organization of which has all gone downhill abit again!! Good to spend time again with clara, just chatting about everything and anything, then yesterday I had two new students, though I wasn’t very attentive in teaching them (oops! mind on other things) but the other gels took on the responsibility which was really encouraging!!

“Surprise, surprise”

‘Surprise’ visit from Chris Stansfield from the Latin Link office… well, I knew he had arrived in Ecuador, but I’d totally forgotten that he’d come to visit and we hadn’t spoken about how we’d meet and he didn’t know where Remar was or anything! Then, out of the blue on thursday afternoon his head popped round the door of where we were making cards!! What a shock, completely not expecting it, completely absorbed in what I was doing! Gave him a quick tour of the premises, and introduced him to the peeps, then we went off to a nearby café for a wee chat! It was good to chat about stuff, and I got him trying some new delicacies!! Mum, dad, tim, just you wait!!! Left feeling very encouraged which I guess was the aim!! (oo by the way, Chris is on a general tour, bit whistle-stop, touching base with a whole load of latin link people in a bunch of different countries!)

‘Super raro’ ‘Really strange’
man, the weirdest thing happened yesterday… walking along Amazonas (a road) checking out different travel agencies for flights to Bolivia…and a lady starts ‘hissing’ at me to get my attention – I don’t think it’s me so continue walking, I mean what would a complete stranger be doing trying to get my attention? Then a guy says, that lady’s calling you… so I stop, with (I’m sure) a complete look of distrust, and say ¿Que? rather defensively… it turns out she wanted my ‘skills’ as a ‘translator’ – she was trying to speak to a lawyer in the US about her son who is in prison there but he (the lawyer) doesn’t speak Spanish nor she English – well, it was an interesting experience!! Spent, I reckon about 45 mins with her, on the phone and then chatting, obviously very worried about her son and what’s happening with him.. she wants to invite me to her house but I feel abit awkward about going to the house of a complete stranger, however nice they may seem???!!!… she wants me to translate a letter from Spanish to English… hmm

frogs, frogs and more frogs (no it's not a plague!)
just been to see a well interesting exhibition of ecuador's frogs!!! they've got something like 10% of the world's species here - ranging from ones less than 2cms long to ones 25cms!!! an amazing host of colours and patterns, and shapes - some really cute, others just down right ugly!!! and did you know (i don't expect you did), that one of ecuador's frogs has led to the discovery of a painkiller many times more potent than morphine, by scraping it's skin with a spatula!! they expect there are many more medicinal qualities as yet undiscovered!! it was definitely well worth the visit!!

ya, that’s it for me waffle today. Another week gone and once again feel utterly exhausted – don’t really understand why, but I’m taking it easy!! Though I’ll be off out dancing salsa tonite with anne!! Hmmm…
oo went to see ‘Super Engordame’ (Supersize me) on wednesday – I’d wanted to see it in England but hadn’t got the chance, has anyone else seen it? ¡Super interestante! Some stuff just left me shocked, a guy whose eaten 19 million big macs – he must be mad!!! For those of you that haven’t seen it, it’s basically about the bad effect McDo’s has on your health but given in an entertaining way! I reckon it’s worth seeing if you get the chance!
Chaos for now...


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