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 26, 2005

easter - little sign of chocolate eggs

And what a busy week it’s been, so much has happened! I’ll start where I left off last week…

The zoo…
So I managed to find the right bus and get myself to the appointed place at the appointed time…and as we had thought, Anné was late (she had to take 2 buses), so I just sat down and waited and in the process got bitten by some nasty little bug on my left leg, three times!!! Grrr… half an hour later she arrived and up the cobbled track we trundled to the zoo…it was hard work and I felt v. exhausted by the time we arrived (half hour up hill) but I’m holding to the fact it’s not because I’m unfit (never!!! hmm...) but coz of the heat (ish 25oC) and the altitude!!! So in we entered for the equivalent of a quid, and it was worth it, we were both glad we went. It’s weird coz I can see the bad and good sides to zoos, the good is that people who wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to see and learn about such animals have that chance, but the bad is that the animals aren’t free – both of us were especially saddened by the lions! It’s a small place, took us about an hour and a half to go round but it’s laid out really lovely with lush vegetation all around… Afterwards I took a trip to Anné’s house, so got to see some more of Ecuador …some rural villages and the like! Good to see some more of the REAL Ecuador… quito isn’t really Ecuador, it’s a capital city much like any other!

Connoisseur’s corner
Oo, this week has been a week for sweet things, first of all ‘dulce de guayaba’ (guava sweet) – red in colour, covered in sugar, obviously it's made from guava, bit like a fruit gum in consistency, tasty! Next ‘Mil Hoja’ (1000 sheets), a wee pastry made of thin layers of pastry stuffed with a creamy fondant filling with a choc marble effect on top – tasty but, dare I say it, a bit too sweet for me! And finally the traditional food for easter here, instead of choc eggs (which actually now are starting to enter the country coz of the strong American influence) is ‘fanesca’. It’s a sort of soup which has 12 different ingredients supposedly representing the 12 disciples. I can't remember the 12 at the mo but it includes, broad beans, sweetcorn, chilli beans, onion, fish…. And then several different things are placed on top, including a slice of egg, a piece of maqueño banana, an empanada (similar to a cornish pasty in style of pastry but nothing like it in filling or taste and in this case it’s ALOT smaller!!!) and tiny biscochos (fried biscuity bits). Tasty but alittle strange.

Yesterday after church I rushed into the historic centre to catch a glimpse of the infamous procession of pentitents that proceed from San Francisco church… the majority of the people are dressed in purple tunics with a KKK style head get up (long pointy hat which covers the face with only slits of eyes), various ‘jesus’s’ carrying their wooden cross (the proper thing, big heavy crosses, they can only go a few steps and then stop), various musical 'bands', epople singing…. I didn’t get to see all the procession (had to get back to the house to go to paquita’s sister’s for the fanesca) including the famous Jesus image from the church which man carry on their shoulders but I was real glad I went…though my photos are gonna be full of heads and umbrellas (sunny day so people were shading themselves)!!!

Prison, therapy and English.
So very exciting, tuesday I got my first experience of being inside a prison, and I know it must be world’s apart from a british prison… for starters the inmates have to pay for everything – those that have money can live quite comfortably, do up their room etc but those without can’t even ‘buy’ their bed (it costs 30 dollars for a bed, about 15 quid but that’s quite a lot of money for most of the people here.). The prison capacity is 120 but currently there are 450 inmates (plus children!), which means 3 or 4 to a room, making for very claustrophobic bedrooms since they’re only box rooms… It was great to join in the Christian meeting they had there, to see the women so full of passion to worship God (the wee room we were in was packed out, about 20 women I reckon), to be a part of it, and to meet the mum's of some of the Remar kids...
Therapy refers to how I’ve got involved in a ‘taller’ (workshop) which a psych student is doing for her thesis (interestingly here, they can call themselves psychologist and practise having just done one degree, but their degree involves a certain amount of hands on stuff unlike our british ones!). 2 hours every day we’re doing creative things to help the girls with the issue of identity, it’s been quite hard going getting the girls to open up but I know a breakthrough will come (it’s happening for a month) and I’m sure they will benefit from it in the end… so it’s really exciting to be involved in it!!! As for English, monday, Anné and I start giving English lessons and I become a teacher!!! Aaahhhh!! Haven’t a clue how it’s going to turn out but we’re going to start by trying to teach them ‘Old MacDonald’!!! so teaching the vowels and animals!

Excellent news for me this week was that Tati wants me to start handing over responsibility for the cards to Gloria (a lady, sort of like a 'responable') so that I can get involved in other things, though this wasn’t greeted with enthusiasm by some of the girls!!! Not sure how easy it’s gonna be, because within Remar things are changing constantly, and for all I know they might decide to send Gloria to another city (Remar has homes in 4 cities in Ecuador) or get her doing something else… so we’ll see… finger's crossed :)

Mental weather…
Tuesday I think it was, was an interesting day.., started off bright sunny and warm in the morning, soon after lunch it had clouded over then mid afternoon it started hailing!!!! Unfortunately I got stuck out in it a wee bit but I didn’t get too badly wet… it stopped by the time I left but whilst in the internet café it started again and this time worse – thunder, lightning, the strongest hail i've seen!!! Horrible!!! But luckily it turned into rain and got lighter, so that when I left I didn’t get too wet (bad Quiteña that day, didn’t have my brolly with me) but there were still piles of hail on the pavement and roadside! The storm had been so bad that when I caught the trolley it had to take a diversion coz the road was so badly flooded it couldn’t pass. Thought i'd tell you this so you'll realise that quito isn't really the land of the eternal spring as they told me!! it's a whole lot colder and a lot more temporamental!

wells, I hope you’re all having a good easter… mine is rather hectic we’ve 7 meetings at church in 3 ½ days, so I’m a singin, singin, singin! Tomorrow I’m in a mime with some of the youth which hopefully we’ll all remember well – we’re meeting at 8am(!!!) tomorrow to have a final practice. Hope this makes sense, I’m aware this week’s blog might have less of a thread than usual, I blame it on over tiredness… best be off my lovelies need to get to church for the next meeting! Oodles of love to you all xxx

Saturday, March 19, 2005

My first x-ray and my first bagel...

Discovered a bagel café yesterday - yeah!!! My first bagel in 5 months!!! Very tasty, tasted just like at home, I asked for peanut butter and jam! Mm, mm, mmmmm!!! I think I shall be visiting there again!

Breaking things, or not quite…
This is in reference to the title of this week’s blog! It all begins as I was entering ‘escuela dominical’ (a.k.a. sunday school), I was chatting away to Daniel not watching where my feet were treading (didn’t think I’d need to! It’d been fine every other time I’d entered the room) and before I knew it, CRASH!!! I plummeted to the floor, bashing my right hip and right elbow on the floor and wall! Ouch! There had been a carpet which moved as I stepped on it (slippery floorboards!), and not realizing what was happening I didn’t have time to save myself!
So danny picked up me off the floor and we walked (or rather slightly hobbling on my part) into the room, as tears started to well!!! So class started and I did my best to calm down and participate but I just couldn’t stop the tears from falling and the pain of my right elbow was huge and increasing!!! The others noticed and danny ‘rushed’ me upstairs (our class is in the sort of basement level) to see if ‘there was a doctor in the house’… there was and he came out to check me over! He had a good old poke and prod and decided nothing was broken but perhaps there was a crack and it would be best to get an x-ray… Maria Augusta came along at this moment and got very worried over me, saying she’d take me to the hospital, we just needed to wait for wendy (other sunday school teacher) arrive so that she could go with me… so I sat and waited, trying desperately hard to stop crying… I was really touched by how many caring faces there were around! (and afterwards how danny, aurea and rafa rang to see how I was) and Paulina (whose in the worship group with her hubby) when she noticed me came over and gave me a lovely mummy type hug!

Anyway to cut a long story short, Douglas (maria’s husband) took me to a hospital to the ER…had to wait quite a bit to be seen, then wait for x-ray (didn’t like the way the lady moved my arm, it hurt, but I understand she had to have it in a certain position!!), wait for the results and wait to pay (35 squids!!!).. so, the results - as you can probably tell from the fact that I’m able to write - it’s not broken! In fact there’s not a thing to show for my fall on me bones! Praise God! I have a contusion – basically a bruise, but man it hurt!! So he gave me some antiflammatories, told me put ice on it, to rest it and not to exert it…

Told Maria Augusta how I was and she forbid that I go to remar on monday coz it would be impossible to rest my arm there! So I had a day’s holiday, much needed! Spent the morning mostly reading, then went to the science museum cost me 50p and it was dead shoddy! Well my guide book did warn me but I decided to go anyway! Some really interesting stuff (although presented appallingly! You have to see it to understand how badly), got grossed out and freaked out by the size of some of the insects that live in this country – urggghhhh!!! Don’t wanna come across them in the day let alone on a dark night! Urgghhh!! But luckily (?) I’m living in quito and you hardly ever see bugs (all the pollution??). Stuffed croc and snakes gave me a bit of a fright too, their poses were just too life like!! Glad I went though…

I’m pretty much better now, doesn’t hurt but aches, though it’s not exactly an ache, it’s a weird sort of feeling! it's definitely letting me know its there!

Moody girls…
Had an interesting afternoon thursday making cards, Gladys (16), a new teenager to Remar (though she has been in Remar before), got angry with me when I ‘made’ her work. She’d not done anywork for about half an hour, so I asked her to stop doodling and continue working, and waited abit, giving her abit of leeway. I asked again, nothing, so I took away the book she had been tracing some pictures from… and man she didn’t like that!! Wouldn’t speak to me for the rest of the afternoon, and if I responded to something she said, like ‘I agree’, she’d reply ‘i’m not speaking to you’… and later when I congratulated her on the cards she’d made, how pretty they were, she said ‘I didn’t ask for your opinion’! Which made it a slightly difficult afternoon! Though friday she seemed to have let go of her grudge! Amen! Cards coming along well, been working on them everyday but thankfully I haven't been with them all the time, had to go out buying materials, do this and that, which gave me some much needed variety!

A is for apple…
This week coming, anné and I are going to start giving English lessons!!! We were thinking monday but we’ve not had a chance to get together and plan coz of card-making and whatever else--- ooo today had to be plumber again on the sink pipes, water was all over the kitchen floor and no-one seemed to be doing anything about it so I took it upon myself to sort it out! Mopping up I realized that water was coming from under the sink, so took everything out and it was ‘full’ of water! And the only way it can get full of water is if it’s leaking from the sink pipes so I took it apart and took out a lemon (they have wee tiny ones here about the size of small apricot) a pip of some kind, rice and bits of veg all wedged in there –lovely!!

My first time in a cell…
Well, its not happened yet, but I’m referring prison - not that i'm being sent there (!) but gonna go a visiting a prison… every tues tati goes to visit the womens’ prison where some of the girls mum’s are, and this tuesday, if all goes to plan, anné and I will be going with her! Very exciting!

Swings update…
Well we’re nearly there, it’s just the weather keeps getting in the way of getting the paint work done! Grrr, but I hope that when I go to Remar on mon that all will be ready!! At last!! and then i can send some photos!!

Psychological study..
A niece of one of paquita’s good friends is about to start her thesis study (for psych) with some of the adolescent girls in Remar – it’s all about idenitity and she’s going to use different forms of ‘therapies’ to aid the girls to express themselves and grow.. and I’m gonna help!! Very exciting! It involves all sorts of creative stuff, dancing, collages, writing… lots of things. Looking forward to it, we start monday –from 8am –10am every weekday for the next month (I’m gonna try and get there as early as I can, normally arrive at 9, so that I can get properly involved).

Connoisseur’s corner
This week, a new fruit ‘ uvillas’, orange and quite sharp… they grow in wee pod like things that are a light brown and dry, I remember my mum having some as a decoration once (though haven’t a clue what we call them in England) but here they eat them! New pastry type thing I’ve tried too this week, it’s called ‘buñelo’ (or it could’ve been ‘pristiño’, paquita wasn’t quite sure as they’re very similar), it’s a sort of fried sweet batter thingy in a random form… that doesn’t make any sense does it? Hmm, can’t explain it any other way!

What else?
Oo off to the zoo today with anné, it’s about a 45m bus journey out side of quito, I hope it’s good! Busy week with preparation for easter, the ‘youth’ are doing a mime and we were practicing till 10pm on wednesday, and last night we had a ‘super ensayo’ (super rehearsal) of the worship band, of all the songs we’re gonna sing over easter, at the ridiculous number of meetings we have! It lasted 3 hours!!! so yeah that's all, keep in touch my lovelies!! xxxx

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Raindrops keep falling on my head, and a lot more besides

So yes, we’ve had another week of very English like weather, rain, rain rain, and more rain, which means the capped crusaders have been out in force again on the streets. Friday was the first non rainy (and actually pretty warm) day in over a week!

Famous Faces
Thought I’d update you all on what other look-a-likey’s I’ve seen! Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen a latino Chesney Hawkes (he’s not the one and only), Dr Simon from Holby City (though a lot chubbier, and I think he was actually Colombian), Eddy Izzard (Mexican, I think), and my trole driver the other day was Sly Stallone! So there you go!

Powercut!!! Ooo weeee + Dia de la Mujer
Experienced by first power cut on tuesday. Very exciting!!! Just sat down on my bed to do some writing, there was a wee (actually not so wee, but not long) flicker of the lights and all was fine, then, just a few moments later…we were plunged into complete darkness! I reached over to my bedside table and got out my wee ‘lampara de bolsillo’ (light of pocket – i.e. torch) and continued with what I was doing… As I was doing this, I could hear Paquita fumbling around getting some candles lit… I looked out the window and our whole area was pitch black… though alittle in the distance I could see street lights blazing in one direction and in the other buildings with lighted windows. Don’t know what happened, but there were quite a lot of houses without light…The lights went out at 6.55pm, and it felt like an age before they came back on 20 minutes later!
The day of the blackout, was also the ‘Day of the Woman’, which I don’t think we really celebrate in England since the first I heard of it was at uni (where they celebrate everything and anything!) It was very exciting coz I didn’t have to pay my trole fares for the day – now, that would never happen in England!!! Also there were lots of women walking round with roses, but no-one gave me one… sniff sniff… though Jessica (one the girls in Remar, 12) suggested I buy one and say someone bought it me!!

Was logging onto the beeb yesterday to catch up on some news, albeit very briefly, typing in, and as the computer is want to do, it brings up the pages related that other people have visited, and what should come up by!!! Some British person in Ecuador is missing neighbours soo much they have to go to the beeb to find out what’s going on!! The thought had never crossed my mind, but as the address was there, I thought I might as well take a wee look and discovered that izzy was marrying carl, or was she? Dun dun der! Who’d a thought it? Crazy English, we love our soaps! (well, not all of us!)
Oo saw a guy with a thundercats t-shirt – remember that?

The cardmania continues
Well monday we finished making all the cards, just! Tuesday I was sorting and checking, then I thought ‘at last, a wee rest from cards, I can play with the kiddies’… but a-ha, oh no, they want to keep me out of mischief so they’ve given us another order which is turning out to be 1000 cards!!! And we’re going to develop some bookmarks too, 500!! It’s all for the pastor to take to Spain in June… there’s a big Remar conference of all who are Remarites from the 60 odd countries in which they work (it’s big!!!) and our pastor wants to take all these to sell to the peeps there! Waaaaaa, waaaaa, waaaaa, I wanted a break!!! I want to play with the kiddies, not sit at a table all day!! But hey ho, I have to do as they wish… so thursday we started again making cards – it was sooo funny coz none of us had the heart to do it, we were all really tired, me hyperactively soo, and couldn’t be bothered… although we managed to make a few cards, we laughed most of the day away! (we didn’t do any in the morning as we spent the time adding some swish stickers to every card for the US order, putting the card and envelope in a wee plastic pocket – very exciting! They looked so professional!). Friday we were alittle more dedicated, but not much!! Though I must say it is good to spend time with the adolescents that there are, and with some of the other women.

On my one day off from card-making, though not completely (I spent 2 hours trying to squeeze an answer out of tati as to what designs they wanted from spain…she kept getting called off, here there and everywhere!! Aaahhhh) I got to spend abit of the afternoon with the girls, and they were outside with a giant book of fairytales (I mean giant, bigger than most of them!!), they asked me to read whilst they acted out the story. It was great fun, and it was so nice to see them acting that I thought about asking tati if we could organize a drama workshop with the girls… I didn’t at that moment, and then my hopes were dashed when tati told me that the pastor wanted these cards made and wanted girls doing it ‘all the time!’ Ahhhh!! I don’t want to be chained to a desk! Need to pluck up the courage to say so to Tati, that I’d like to help in other ways too!

All the food that Remar gets is donated (e.g. from fruit veg markets, from the police, or whoever else) and on monday someone had given them crab!!! So we all ate crab soup – don’t worry it was fine for my stomach to eat, they were still alive when they arrived!!! Totally unexpected that we’d have crab in Remar!! Although they’re not expensive here, like in England, and I could eat probably quite a lot of them, I can’t really be bothered with them – it’s too much work for meat that isn’t really that tasty! Pah! Pah I say to crab! Pah!

¿Que mas? What else?
Well I think that’s about it for my mad ramblings this week! Doing this rather later this week, coz I’ve had a Latin Link offical meeting all day with a lawyer… once a year all the missionaries have to get together and tell everyone what they’re up to (and write a wee report – Dave and I had a wee competition, who could fit the most song titles into their report, loser buys the winner an icecream! neither of us won or rather it was a draw, 13 each!!!). It’s a legal thing to show that the missionaries are doing stuff, and are doing what they said they’d do on their visas, giving proof that the mission is a bonifide organization – coz if it’s not they (the government) won’t let anyone else in! ever! No more striders (that’s people like me), no more Step-ers (teams that come out to do a project like build a school or summat for 6 weeks or so) – serious stuff! It’s different in other latin American countries though…

Oo I’d forgotten
And no-one pointed it out, that I never explained about the marches we were having against the government!! I mentioned it in a blog a couple of weeks back! Basically the president is being rather naughty… there was this president a while back who was abit mad and ended up leaving the country with millions and millions of sucre in some holdall bags… the supreme court had ruled that this guy can’t come back into the country, and that if he did he has to go to prison… but our dear lucio has changed all the judges that said this, to new judges that now say what he wants them to say – that this ex-president can come back in a free man! (now why is Lucio letting this man back in? some say it’s bribery! Ai, ai, ai, corruption!) Needless to say the people are outraged, this guy stole loads of money from the people and deserves to pay for what he did! So 1000s upon 1000s of people took to the streets to protest.. but nothing’s changed… so again this week there have been more strikes – especially from teachers, students causing havoc on the streets (though thankfully the uni students by us have been relatively calm this time, no need for tear gas)… don’t know how it’s going to resolve!!!
Oo also introduced paquita and Armando to lemon meringue pie (my first ever, and rather delicious if I do say so myself!) and to roasted parsnips…mm, mm!!

the forgotten
it's easy to forget when one is involved in a work such a Remar in which lives have hope, have a chance, that outside the walls there are 'un monton' ( a lot) of people for whom life is a continual struggle, full of strife... i went to the historic centre to supposedly see some of the remar youth do some street drama, but they didn't turn up before it was time for me to leave... any way as i was wandering around you would not believe the number of prostitutes i saw hanging round the street corners! somehow you can just tell.... stark remember of what life is for some... then last night as we were driving to the house of some friends of paquita and armandos, saw 3 youths, not much more than 14 i reckon, sat on the roadside in 3 states of drunkness, one in a complete stupor, totally out of it, another pretty far gone who tried to lift his friend up but was wobbling around too much himself to help, and the other drunk but not so much... this was a 6.30 in the evening, 3 youths... can you imagine what their lives must be like in order for them to be soo drunk at that time, and that age? there is a lot of need here!

Well mis ‘amados’ (loved ones), I shall love you and leave yous for another week! Just been to the cinema with dave and bev, we saw national treasure - i didn't really want to it but i actually enjoyed it! anyone seen it?? so,. many saludos (greetings) from quito to you all! Love me xxxxxxxxxx

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