Monday, October 23, 2006

Con JABON, Pues!

OK, I promise that I have a good excuse this time. So I finally landed in Quito on Wednesday evening, spent the night there, and then took off by bus for Tena, the so-called gateway to the Amazon. The road between Quito and Tena, which according to my friend Holger, who lives in Talag, was supposed to be completely paved is actually not. Which is sort of a relief to me actually, since I would have been really disappointed to feel too comfortable on a ride into the jungle.

I am currently staying with him and his family, alternating between staying in Tena and Talag...very cool. In fact, the first night when I met their dog, it really liked me from the start. So much so, in fact, that it began to try to mate with my leg. Then there was my first spider...the really really big kind (bigger than the bottom of my shoe). That one took me by surprise, and when I went to bath that night on their cement block with water from a cold hose, I was very disappointed in myself that it seemed so hard to adjust. Then came brushing my teeth with muddy water out of the river. But over the past few days things have become infinitely easier, and my Spanish is improving quickly.

Today we went to the bilingual school in Talag for the first time since my return. I can´t tell you how many times I have felt deja vu...the jokes about Colombians (actually, according to Colombia´s president, one of the country´s most notorious drug lords is presently hiding in the Ecuadorian jungle), the jokes about how the former Peace Corps volunteer used to wear thongs on her head while passing out condoms to villagers, the power going out in all of Tena for 2 days... you get the picture.

So I have some pictures that I am posting from my day in Quito. It was so amazing!!!!11!1

Now, I am heading out again to Talag with Holger, hopefully to eat some more garobata yuyu (baby favorite food in todo el mundo!) and hopefully NOT to eat more um WHOLE matter how delicious sucking the heads might be or how coveted the fish testacles might be...I almost couldn´t bring myself to do it, but I just had to convince myself of the Ecuadorian motto Si, Se Puede! We are still working out the logistics of my mini-projects, but hopefully they will be resolved soon. I have already been around to some of the houses to distribute some of the clothes donations and will hopefully be finishing that this evening. We worked this morning on teeth-brushing, but I´m not sure whether it would be better to brush our teeth and rinse with water right out of the river or not brush our teeth and not risk getting worms or amoebas. We´ll see in due time, I suppose. But then after lunch at the school, we went to wash our dishes, or rather RINSE them in the river. From this is derived the title of this posting...con JABON pues, because when you wash things you should really use soap. And so life goes here in Amazonia. I have so much more to say, but really need to go, since Holger and I need to meet up with someone imminently.

I really want to dedicate more time to saying that I am always awestricken by the generosity of people here. Everyone is so willing to help, so willing to talk to you, and so willing to give you whatever they can to welcome you. Yesterday when Holger and I were distributing clothing, one of the families gave us an enormous bunch of ripe bananas. These displays of generosity, especially from people who are so poor, cross all cultural and language barriers...and never fail to move me, nearly to the point of tears. It´s just incredibly beautiful and humbling, especially when you know how hard they have worked to bring those bananas from deep in the thick, steamy rainforest. I´m so happy to be here, trying to help in whatever little way I can, and trying to learn as much as possible. We all have so much to learn, but in our busy daily lives in the U.S. we don´t often take the time to listen as we should. I can´t wait to share more of my experiences, so please stay posted...more to come soon


Blogger jezka said...

Hola mi amigo guapo! I wish I was there with you Benjius! It sounds like a wonderful experience. Te Divertidas! Te amo!

6:54 AM  

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