09 Sep

Another entry from Wednesday: Day 2 in Quito

So we’re finally in Quito, finally with our host family, and I’ll tell you, I’ve heard so many volunteers say their host family was “so cool” or “awesome,” that I’ve come to doubt whether they were telling the truth or just blowing the story out of proportion like young, overly-excited world travelers are wont to do. But it turns out our host family actually is pretty cool. We haven’t yet talked about our host mother’s soap opera career, but we’ve discussed the US presidential election, world peaced, Chechen terrorists, the Colombian government, and the Ecuadorian president. The house looks like a Catholic, Latin-American grandmother’s — full of breakable ceramic figurines of flamenco dancers, saints, and cute animals. The bed is a foot too small for me, as is the shower, most of the lighting fixtures, the doorways, and the ceiling of the bathroom. Our room is on the third floor of a house. We’re pretty much on our own up there. Within our “suite,” there’s a bedroom, a bathroom, and a small kitchen with a sink and a stove that doesn’t work. Outside the door to our suite is a small hallway which leads to a washing machine, a rock, and a door to the roof. The view is a mix of beautiful and ugly.
No sickness yet, but I’m writing this during our informational seminar on “staying healthy in Ecuador,” in which diarrhea is pretty much the main topic. Just talking about it gets my stomach rumbling. Eileen had an adventure this morning in the shower. (ooh, bad transition) Here’s how the hot water works: turn on the water, then flip the switch of the precariously wired electrical shower head. If the water’s still cold, lower the pressure. We got it working for Eileen, but then I heard her exhaling loudly and shivering two minutes later. We figured the thing could only heat two minutes worth of hot water; we even started figuring out how we might have to alternate showering morning and night. But when we got downstairs, we fouind Victor lighting a candle at the breakfast table because the electricity had gone out.
Victor rode with is on the bus to show us how to get to our classes. This week, we’re learning about Ecuadorian culture, safety, lesson planning, etc. Tomorrow, we all will go to our sites to learn about the schools where we’ll be teaching. Eileen and I will probably start looking for an apartment. We hear we can get a pretty nice place for $100-200/ month. We’ll see.

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