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, June 18, 2005

Earthquake...well nearly!

Oo lots has happened this week – not least I discovered my poor family got stuck in Guayaquil for 17 hours!!! They ended up arriving a day later than they should’ve done and with their first stomach upsets of their holiday! The advice is, don’t fly Iberia! Hmmm… poor things.

My weekend was extremely different to that of my parents!! I spent it in church – now that might sound abit weird!!! But it was great fun! It was a programme called EJE – Encuentro Juvenil en el Espiritu – Youth meeting with the Spirit – now I’m suer that still sounds weird!!! Basically it was a weekend of ‘listening to our hearts’ (sounds abit hippy) and sharing about various issues – relationships with friends, family etc… we were put into wee groups called families and we all cried lots about various experiences…. Not sure I’m explaining it very well but it was really good, and they kept giving us loads of surprises – posh dinner when we thought we were going to bed, breakfast with a place full of gifts – from friends and from family. I was really touched as Pedro, one of the ‘’youth’’ had sneakily talked to my mum about it all, and she’d left a wee gift… and I thought that was all, but then at another point we had to close our eyes and put our hands out to receive something – which was an ‘envelope’, and inside letters from one’s mum, dad which were really touching letters about how they loved us, what they say in us, memories they had of us, and how proud they were of us. Then they surprised us with another envelope, this time with letters from brothers/sisters and friends – I was so touched that so many of the ‘youth’ in my church had written me a wee message – it was so lovely, I felt so loved and special, and I realized that all my prayers and those of others had been answered – that God has blessed me with some true Ecuadorian friends!!! Yeay! So I had a fantastic weekend apart from very little sleep as a girl in the room I was in was snoring! Grrr

Back to work!
So fully got back into work on Monday, full steam ahead with my English classes – which have overall been fun but pretty trying at times!!! Not really involved in the cards anymore, the ‘girls’ are kind of left to their own devices – and as a result, they’ve come up with some awesome new designs of their own which is really encouraging!
Monday Anne turned up to say hello and to sort out some things before heading off traveling proper, and Tati announced she was inviting us to lunch! So at 2pm (and feeling very hungry) off we trundled in taxi, Anne, Tati, Valentina (her 4yr old daughter) and Estefania (the baby) to ‘Crepes y Waffles’, and Diego (Tati’s husband) met us there. It was a lovely lunch and I felt so touched that they’d made the effort!! And then on Wednesday Tati gave me a present, which I really wasn’t expecting, so with all this, felt very valued which was nice!
Other wise in Remar, we have had an influx of short term volunteers – Adam from Canada arrived before I went on holiday, and he’s here till the end of July, there was Fanny from France (was here for a month, now gone), Kelley from New Jersey (3 weeks now gone), Marco from Switzerland (with us till the end of school), Katie from America (also till the end of school). Most of them have come or are coming just in the morning, and helping in the school – but Thursday two more Canadians Adam and Christine (from Toronto) started to come in the afternoon – and they’ll be here for 3 weeks I think…. So we’ve gone really international – it’s weird to go from being the only volunteer for months to now being one of loads (oo just remembered 2 more guys visited the other day and will be helping for a wee while starting Monday)… and I think more will come and go. Maria Augusta says she’s NEVER seen so many volunteers in all her time helping in Remar (10 years or summat like that), and did suggest that perhaps they didn’t have need of striders any more – which she does have a point, but only in terms of the summer months when loads of foreign students arrive to do their social bit. I reckon when the summer’s over, I’ll go back to being alone – until the new girls arrive!

Sad news…
Sad to hear that during my time away, several children ‘escaped’, ran away from the Fundacion – Mitzi, 16, who’d been in Remar for quite some time, long before I arrived – I was shocked and am wondering why, and where she’s gone!! Then Angelica and her brother Angel, and 2 nephews (remember I told you about them a little while back, how they’d entered) – don’t know what happened there either – apparently their sister had turned up to see them and I reckon it stems from that, but I don’t know! So that’s all abit sad and disheartening, when they were all doing so well!

Well you can’t really call it an earthquake, I’m hugely exaggerating, but on Wednesday night at 1.05am, all the countries on this side of south America experienced severe tremors – here in Quito measured 4 on the Richter scale – but in Chile, the worst effected, it was 7 (!!!) and some people died… I’d totally forgotten that it happened until Tati asked me if I’d felt it when I arrived at Remar the following morning. Then I remembered how I’d been woken in the night, feeling EVERYTHING was moving, my body, my bed, the building (!!!), and I remember thinking ‘oh stop it, I want to sleep’ – I was soo full of sleep I didn’t really realize what was happening, and felt no fear whatsoever! Wonder how I’d feel if it happened in the day time. So, I’ve experience my first ever tremor! Ooo

Low points of the week – walking past some men on the way to Remar and having one shout at me ‘monkey’…hmmm….. then the following day walking to catch the trolley in the Colon and a guy stopped talking to his friends so that as I passed he could say ‘Haylo’ (hello) and try to kiss my cheek – urghh, I felt sick, I mean any stranger to do that but this guy had a severely minging, greasy mullet and was about 40+ years old! The things women have to put up with here!!!

So that’s my week – had a chilled day today, just doing nothing, really needed to rest – and it was such a treat just to be able to lie in bed and read a book for an hour or so!!
Hope you’re all well, I’m gradually getting up-to-date with my emails, just be patient for my reply, I will reply eventually!!
Oodles of love
Me xxx


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