Archive for June 2010

Something from nothing

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On one of my first days here, Jody, the director of Arte del Mundo, sat me down in her office and asked what I hoped to gain from my time as a volunteer.

¨Well,¨ I said, ¨Put most simply, I want to see how an arts non-proftit works.¨

¨Then the first thing you should know,¨ Jody replied, ¨is that you don´t need money. Don´t ever let anyone tell you that you need money. Two years ago, this building was completely empty.¨ She gestured at our building, which now houses a 2,000 volume library and plays host every afternoon to thirty or so happy children, classrooms for English lessons, and a volunteer quarters that I am happy to call home. ¨We built all of this, and we had no money.¨ She laughed. ¨We still don´t!¨

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After working at FAM for three weeks, I can see that Jody is right. The non-profit world is quite different here than what I expected. My only prior experience was my work at a fancy shmancy arts non-profit in Miami. In that circle I saw a world where all the town´s upper crust came to throw money around and in exchange, see their names in gold letters on gallery and museum walls. I had been prepared to study the art and science of grant writing, a wearisome task that I´ve seen friends and former colleagues pull their hair out over. There´s none of that here. In an organization where one of the founding beliefs is, ¨To be human is to be imaginative and creative,¨ it only seems fitting that funding is born of creative ideas rather than red tape. I love it. It´s so DIY. It´s so… punk!

We have a whole room of recyclables. I´ll have to take a photo of it– it´s incredible. Anything that to most people is trash, goes into the recycling room. In the hands of our children and volunteers, that trash is turned into fun afternoons, and then, into art. For instance, this little guy. Another volunteer, Pete, made them with all the kids one day. They loved it!

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I´ve long thought that what I´d like to ultimately do– my big move– is start a non-profit. I was born into a family of hardworking, self-employed folk and so I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I quickly learned, while self-employed in the real estate industry at the age of twenty, that I lack the ¨money grubbing spirit¨ that one needs to succeed. Or, I should say, to succeed in the traditional, American-dream sense.

A few days ago, I went hiking with Karl and Kim, other volunteers, and we got talking about the movie Network. The discussion concluded with me yelling that famous line from the side of a mountain, ¨I´m as mad as hell, and I´m not going to take it anymore!¨ I´ve met so many people here who I can imagine shouting that phrase from the windows of the suburban homes just before leaving their old lives behind.

The people I´ve talked to all describe a transformative moment when they realized with full clarity that they wanted more out of life than nice cars and big TVs. I met a former firefighter who spent the last three years out of his twelve year career working in Iraq for the United States military. He´d come to Ecuador to climb volcanoes. ¨There´s something about them,¨ he said, leaning close and speaking softly. ¨When I´m near volcanoes, I just feel different. Like nothing else on this Earth has ever made me feel.¨ When he returns to the U.S., he´s going to study for his master´s in Geology. Specializing, of course, in volcanology.

Many of my fellow volunteers, after many years spent on careers, suddenly decided they´d had enough. They gave away or sold whatever they had left. One simply handed the keys to his Mercedes to a friend, trading the car for a bicycle on which he spanned the entire United States. Bobby and Jody, the couple who helped found FAM, have been heading south from Mexico for twenty years, volunteering along the way. ¨We´re the world´s slowest travelers,¨ Jody says.

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I feel incredibly blessed to have had the realization relatively early in life that, to quote Fight Club: ¨You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet.¨ I feel even more blessed to have the support of my university as I explore what it really means to spend your life doing what you want to do, rather than what you feel you have to.

So far, the most exciting part of my work has been teaching English to adults. I knew I liked ESOL tutoring before, but damn. I really like it now. My class is intermediate, five students give or take, all of whom are there because they really want to learn. They ask difficult questions. They challenge idiomatic phrases. They shake their heads, their faces clouded with confusion. And then, together, we come to understanding, the clouds break, and their faces light up. Or so it seems to me. I can´t say for sure that they´re learning, because I feel so new and inexperienced at this. But as time passes and they warm up to me, I hear their voices more and more often. I see them smile. And then I´m a little like that firefighter with his volcanoes– feeling something unlike anything else. I´ll never forget when Kyunghwa, a Korean woman who I tutored in English back in Tallahassee, told me after our six months together that her professor had commented on her improved English. I was surprised. Kyunghwa came to me almost fluent– she taught English to high schoolers back in Korea– so I really thought, all along, and guiltily, that my tutoring sessions with Kyunghwa were more like just hanging out with a friend. But after that compliment, she thanked me! I know I didn´t do much. The words were there, but having someone to use them on helped improve her confidence and comfort in speaking up.

I feel certain now that my path, for at least the next few years, is one of teaching English overseas. I´ve never been able to relax, so sipping margaritas on the beach never appealed to me as a traveler. I like coming to see the place I´m in as home, and that can only come with time. It doesn´t hurt to be affiliated with an awesome organization, and it really doesn´t hurt to be in a small town where the people go out of their way to make you feel a part of their world. I have felt so welcome in Baños that I feel sure I can become at ease in another part of the world. But for now, it´s true: Baños feels, to me, just like home.

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And while we´re on the subject of home, can I show you some photos of my FAMily?

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That´s Carlos on the right and I think that´s Oliver on the left. I can´t be sure, because would you believe it, there are TWO of those adorable faces around the Biblioteca? That´s right, Oliver´s a twin. And yes, the saying ¨double trouble¨ does apply!

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That´s Veronica, Karl, and Bibi, my surrogate dog for the summer. Veronica is one of the sweetest and friendliest kids at the Bib. Karl is our volunteer coordinator, but he also takes us on rad hikes and keeps me company at the bar. He´s also provided an outlet for my sometimes crude sense of humor, a role I greatly appreciate. As you can see, Bibi´s quite cuddly and good-natured. When Bobby & Jody go away for the weekend, I have the pleasure of being Bibi´s guardian. Having a dog around has really contributed to that sense of home. I´m just not myself without a dog around.

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That´s Alfonso, me, Dalene and Pete. Dalene has left for home but her husband, Pete, will be here until August. Alfonso is a Baneño and friend of Karl´s. We went to his house to watch the dismal USA vs. England match a few weeks ago, and to take in the view of Baños from his roof!

Stalin at work

That´s Stalin. He´s the sweetest kid. Every day he greets me with a smile and ¨¡Hola Sam!¨ and when he leaves, it´s a hug and a kiss on the cheek and a ¨¡Chao, hasta mañana!¨

Alex

That´s Alex, one of the twins. Yeah, he looks sweet and angelic in that picture.

But this one´s much more true to his silly, mischievious nature.

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The passenger with the huge smile is Yesi, our librarian and guru to the children. She´s from Baños and can manage a room full of rowdy kids like none other. I´ve seen thirty children go, at her command, from running around the library putting each other in headlocks to sprawled all over the floor, quietly reading to one another. The ¨horse¨ is Cecilia, a lady from Spain who has the prettiest, but difficult to understand, accent. She led a Friday afternoon of dancing and games that I think was as much fun for the volunteers as it was for the kids.

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That´s Karl again and Kim, our newest volunteer. On her second day here, Karl took us to a place called the Tree House. The warden of Volcan Tungurahua built it. It´s a two hour hike from our house and features such glories as a swing that takes you over the valley and spectacular views of the volcano and the surrounding mountains. Like so:

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As Kim and I stood looking out over the valley, I turned to her and said something I tend to say often, at times of overwhelming wonder. Like I´m trying to convince myself, still.

¨We live here!¨ I said, and we smiled.

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I live here.
I live here.
I live here.

How will I ever leave?!

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Written by Sam Kelly

June 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Baby´s First Hike

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¨But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed, but not defeated.¨
-Ernest Hemingway

You may have heard this before, but for those who don´t know about my homeland, south Florida, I´ll say this: it´s flat. It sits at sea level, with nary a variance in the topography, unless you count the massive landfills. Florida is FLAT. Moreover, most of that flatness is paved. Highways, shopping centers, theme parks- we´ve made it as easy as possible to drive over the endless flatness, and as unappealing as possible to walk through it.

That´s not to say that Florida has a shortage of natural beauty. We have the Everglades, a river of grass unlike anything else in the world. I´ve walked around a bit in it- mostly, over the docks that lead to airboats- but I did try, once, on an eighth grade field trip, to hike in the Everglades. A few steps into the knee-high swamp, my friend and I climbed a tiny tree and clung to it, crying, until our teachers finally let us return to the comfort of our air-conditioned bus, where we felt much more at home. Still, I´ve always harbored a belief that deep inside this pathetic crybaby is someone born to climb mountains.

Volcan Cotopaxi

Or, this being Ecuador, volcanoes. That one is Cotopaxi, as seen from the front yard of my hostel, Secret Garden Cotopaxi. I arrived at The Secret Garden on Friday, May 28th, with the intention of making it to the glacier line of Cotopaxi on Sunday. What would I do Saturday, you ask? Climb another volcano, of course, to acclimatize and prepare for Cotopaxi.

Meet Señor Pasochoa:

The road to Pasochoa

That craggedy, mist-shrouded heap of rocks was formed about a hundred thousand years ago when the volcano exploded, showering the surrounding regions with ash and lava that made a fertile ground for the lush surrounding forest. Although Pasochoa stands higher than any European mountain, at 4200 meters, I didn´t think twice about attempting to summit it on my first real hike. After all, I´ve never climbed a European mountain, and meters are meaningless to me. From a distance, Pasochoa looked only slightly higher than our grandest landfills.

The hike begins...

The five of us- Jessica, Jan, Becky, and I, lead by Abraham a.k.a. The Young Magellan- set off from the hostel around 8:30 in the morning, o´er green fields, to the backdrop of a cool, gorgeous and relatively cloudless day.

We slipped into a misty forest, and began walking alongside a river. This was the point when I had to explain to my disbelieving self, ¨No, you are not on ride at Disneyworld. This is real. This is what they base those rides off of. This was here first.¨ I still can´t really believe it. Moss-covered branches! Cascading mountain streams! Rocks of every size, shape, and color- none of them made of flaking styrofoam!

Is this my life?

See how happy this made me? I look absolutely crazed with excitement. We all look pretty happy, standing at waterfall just before we climb up it. Remember this photo, because we won´t look so happy on the way back down, covered in mud in the gloomy gloaming. But for now: HAPPY! ECSTATIC!

The gang

For a first hike, scaling a slippery rock wall and climbing a waterfall like a ladder should have daunted me. Instead, in that old adage from the great advertiser Nike, I ¨just did it.¨ I was pretty proud of myself. I was hiking!!! Just to reiterate:

Ha! How fitting that I´m wearing a Mickey Mouse tee!

We made it through the forest and came out onto a steep path leading us to some fields where we saw spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. I watched Cotopaxi with a smug smile, thinking: This mountain-climbing business is a piece of cake. See you tomorrow, sucka.

As we started up the ridges of Pasochoa, I could feel the air thin and my energy weaken. The rest of the gang, experienced hikers all, carried on at what seemed to me like warp speed as I struggled to muster enough strength to place one foot in front of the other. The dogs from the hostel had come along, and were running circles around us- up the mountain, down the mountain, startling a probably endangered bird from his roost in the tall grass. Struggling to breathe, I sat down in the grass and tried to calm myself with the view.

My sister has a life philosophy (with a matching tattoo) called ¨Reel It In.¨ Basically you can keep the future at a distance, imagining what it will be like as you walk down a sometimes treacherous path towards it, or you can cast your line way out, hook that future you want, and reel it in.

I think that hiking is a tangible and visceral way of practicing the art of ¨reeling it in.¨ The first time I went to Ecuador, in 2008, I was blown away by the mountains we passed on our drive from Quito to the Amazon. I spent most of the car ride with my face pressed to the window, barely suppressing an urge to bolt out into the open and run up those mountains to stand beneath the waterfalls I could see trickling down. This time, I vowed, I will GET THERE. I will be inside those places. I will make them real.

I soon realized that running up the sides of a 4000+ meter mountain is physically impossible for someone like me. Did I mention I´ve spent my whole life at sea level? Despite the rising panic at my inability to breathe, and feeling like a jerk for slowing everyone down, I got through the brief moment where I considered quitting and decided that I´d cast my line this far. I could feel my hook scraping the summit of Pasochoa. And by Zeus, I was going to reel that future in!

I DID IT!

I DID IT! I summitted my first ever mountain, and I was suddenly filled with so much energy I thought I might do a backflip. Instead, I followed Basil´s lead, and rested a bit as I took in the surreal plant life and otherworldly mist.

Basil at rest on the summit of Pasochoa

A word about Basil: if I was Santiago, engaged in my most epic struggle yet, then Basil was The Boy, not always present, but always in the back of my mind, bringing me strength. When I was panicking, Basil was at my side, or actually, climbing onto my lap, offering me the scraps of his endless energy. Please Basil, I said silently, my head buried in his fur. Please give me some of your energy. And he did.

Summit of Pasochoa

Up there, things were fantastically vivid. The future was even more glorious than I had imagined!

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And then the clouds cleared, and we could see all that was below.

Below

The descent story is not so pretty, but now that I´m remembering how wonderful it was to reach the summit, I feel less like telling that disgraceful tale. Basically, Young Magellan had only been on the hike once before, and we got lost. It was a dizzying and maddening hour of tracing and retracing our steps, making a zigzag over the mountain that exhausted me physically and mentally. I was tired, I was angry, I was hungry, and I didn´t trust our guide, the poor thing.

Our misstep did lead us, however, to a band of wild horses.

WILD horses: Stand-off!

WILD horses

WILD horses

The local legend has it that those horses are so wild, they cannot be tamed. See that road the horses are standing on? That´s the road we were supposed to stroll leisurely down, back to the hostel. But Magellan didn´t know which way we were supposed to go. So, when he told us we would be going back the way we came- down waterfalls, down steep rocky cliffs, all under the threat of a thunderstorm- I actually thought that taming one of the horses and riding it back to the hostel sounded easier.

What followed was a slow and arduous descent during which I was mostly crying and hyperventillating. I kept moving, but just barely. Magellan, trying valiantly to calm me and show me the way, slipped from a rock wall and landed neck-deep in the river below, only narrowly avoiding jagged rocks. It was a horrible time for all. We had now missed lunch and afternoon snack, being about four hours overdue at the hostel. We knew the others would be worrying, and rightfully so, I thought. It was getting dark and every path we took through the forest seemed to end in an impassable gorge. We decided to wade through the river, which was freezing of course. Man, it was terrible.

When we finally reached the clearing, we all shouted in victory and our spirits lifted immediately. We stumbled out onto a hill, and we could see the valley below, where our hostel was.

What we saw then was magnificent, so fleeting that I didn´t have the chance to take a photo, and almost impossible to describe. We´d reached the valley at the last possible moment of sunset. On the fields, soft golden pools of light fell in patches. It didn´t look like light falling on fields, however. It looked like the curtains on windows in the ground had parted. It´s sort of how I picture the windows of English homes as seen by Dickensian street urchins, watching from the darkened street, awed by the warm glow of a happy family milling about in the firelight. In the most primitive, the most basic, and the most moving sense, the word for what I saw for those few precious seconds in the burning fields must be: home.

And there we were, greeted in the driveway by the owner of the hostel and a volunteer, who nodded serenely, accepting our continued existence. We sat by the fire and warmed our aching bodies as everyone asked about the trek. I spoke openly and apologetically of my cowardice and near-defeat on my first hike. And someone asked, ¨So, do you think you´ll ever go hiking again?¨

The answer is: HELL YES! I didn´t make it to Cotopaxi (see you later, sucka) but I see now what the hype is about. I saw that mountain, macro focus, and I brought it into micro focus. I reeled it in. And now, if you will, I´m hooked.

Written by Sam Kelly

June 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Volcano-Watching

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…Have you heard of it? Neither had I, until I came to Baños. I thought it was a sport reserved solely for volcanists. Anyone else, I figured, would want a lava-spewing crater out of sight and thus, out of mind. Oh, how wrong I was.

Partybus to the volcano

That´s a chiva, or as I like to call it, the party bus. Anytime one passes La Bib, we can hear it blasting reggaeton or salsa, and I break into a little dance.

Karl, Rob, and I were talking yesterday about the distinction that people make between being a tourist and being a traveler. ¨I´m not a tourist!¨ is a frequent phrase among backpackers. Karl suggested that we eradicate the word tourist altogether, and call everyone travelers- but denote their intensity with varying levels, like in whitewater rafting. ¨I´m a level four traveler,¨ you might say. Certain things can bump you back a level.

So when I rode the chiva to the top of the mountain to see the volcano, I knew it would set me back at least a level or two in my traveler rating. Riding through the mist, on top of the bus, we had to duck to avoid tree branches and powerlines. The colored lights lit the mist blue and green, making the ride feel, to this Floridian, just like an attraction at Disneyworld.

When we arrived at the top, the mist was thick but the canelazado- a delicious sugarcane drink- was hot. It comforted me to know that lava spewing from Tunguruhua is such a frequent occurrence that a cafe exists solely to serve those who come to watch it. We stared into the blackness, hoping the clouds would break and leave us with a perfect view of glittering lava.

And then, through the mist- what´s that light? Could it be Mama Tungurahua, finally showing her face? We all grabbed our cameras and started clicking away.

Is that the volcano????

Then I turned on the flash.

No... Just some Brit´s cigarette.

…And it was just British guy, holding up his cigarette, trying his best to give us the fake pictures of Tungurahua that could dazzle our friends, possibly bumping us up to level four travelers.

You´re lucky I´m an honest gal. Can I get some points for that?

Written by Sam Kelly

June 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The excitement might kill me

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¨Was that the thunder that I heard?¨ -Bob Dylan

Mama Tungurahua, in 1999.  Image from Wikipedia.

Throughout history, in times of confusion, humankind has turned to Bob Dylan to pose the questions we cannot put into words ourselves. WAS that the thunder I heard, booming across Baños, rattling the windows and causing nervous glances to pass between people on the street? Or was it Mama Tungurahua, our friendly local volcano, who has been active now for a week?

I don´t need Dylan to find out the answer. It´s on every radio and on every pair of lips: volcán, volcán. Some days it´s every few minutes, and some days, every few hours, but the roar is unmistakable: that´s not thunder we hear, but the rujio- the roar- of Tungurahua, spewing ash and lava.

I started this post around noon today, while eating delicious Ecuadorian bonbons and waiting for the sirens to sound, announcing the scheduled practice evacuation. The people here call it the Simulacra and they are surprisingly calm about it. The phrase I keep hearing is ¨no pasa nada¨- we´ve lived here with the volcano active for ten years now, and nothing happened.

Except, something did happen. In October 1999, the people of Baños and the villages surrounding Tungurahua were forced by the military to evacuate. The people of Baños were kept away from their homes for three months. From talking to other volunteers and people who lived here at that time, life for those months was grim. Evacuated to school buildings, people idled their days away in empty rooms without beds to sleep on. I don´t know what the food and water situation was, but one can imagine that there were no six-course meals.

¨They killed our chickens and cooked in our homes,¨ a Baños resident told Tobin & Whiteford in 2002. Indeed, the fear that police and soldiers were looting their homes back in Baños was not unfounded, and in 2000 a Chilean TV station broadcast the proof. The evacuees, en masse and armed with shovels, dug through police blockades and reclaimed their town.

Today, people are reluctant to leave, even in the face of a mandatory evacuation. It´s being said that the government is, therefore, reluctant to announce one. Given the history, it´s easy to understand why. However, there is a lot of misinformation being spread and the reasons are, naturally, political and economical. On my way to the internet cafe this morning I passed a mural that declared ¨Tourism is our strength.¨ Every other storefront in Baños offers something to the extranjeros- strangers- who drive the local economy: shops selling handicrafts, tour offices with whitewater rafts suspended from their ceilings, hostels, kitschy restaurants with menus in English. Everywhere I go, people ask me what they´re saying about Baños in other towns. Are they telling the tourists not to come? Why are there no tourists, and if they don´t come, how will we pay our bills this month?

Tourism is our strength.

Midway through this post, around 12:30 pm, the sirens went off. People in the cafe calmly packed up their belongings, paid their bills, and hit the streets. Outside, shops were already shuttered and people were walking, a little wearily, down the evacuation route. I ran into Oscar, one of my local friends, and we walked the route together until I got near La Bib (that´s what we call the Biblioteca- where I work), and I turned to leave the route. ¨Why aren´t you going?¨ he asked, confused. See, only locals were required to take part in the evacuation. Tourists were off the hook. As I said, people are talking a lot about the difficulty of separating precaution from politics.

Simulacravacuation

Back at La Bib, I found out that another volunteer, Jenny, had left for good. The local woman who was renting Jenny a room in her home assured her that these drills happen all the time, at least two or three times a year. Jenny asked someone at La Bib when the last simulacra was. ¨Oh, two, maybe two and half years ago,¨ she said. The stress of not knowing what´s really going on is getting to all of us. Another volunteer is thinking of leaving a week early. ¨I hate not knowing what´s really happening,¨ I told Oscar a few minutes ago, when I ran into him again. He laughed. ¨The authorities don´t even know!¨

Simulacravacuation

Even though I knew that the evacuation was only a drill, I couldn´t help feeling a little sick to my stomach when I heard the sirens, which sound like our U.S. ambulances, but more mournful. I reeled a little on the sidewalk, unsure of which way to go, despite having studied the evacuation map since the second I arrived in Baños. If there really is need for an evacuation, it´s pretty clear that it will be a mess. At La Bib we are waiting with fingers crossed that in a few days this will, as Karl (the volunteer coordinator) put it, all blow over. ¨Are those the words you want to use, Karl?¨ I said, with a nervous chuckle. So let me just say that we are hoping that we´ll we able to say soon, ¨No pasa nada.¨ Because I really, really, REALLY love Baños and I don´t want to leave. Let me tell you a little about why.

waterfall you can see from our window

First of all, it´s GORGEOUS here. That waterfall is visible from the house I live in, right above the Bib. The town of Baños is surrounded on all sides by nearly vertical walls of rock so high that for the first few days, I couldn´t look down a street without getting dizzy. The walls are green and lush with, oh, just the occasional waterfall cascading down or even, incredibly, horses grazing on narrow ledges. The weather is cool and cloudy, with bursts of sunshine. I have definitely achieved my dream of experiencing year-round sweater weather. I can´t say I miss the heat, bugs, or humidity of my native Florida summers one bit.

wall of mountain

Second, the people here are amazing. I already have friends. I´ve sat on stoops, chatting with locals. A few days ago Carlos, the security guard at the supermarket, took me on a tour of the aisles, explaining the names of things and telling me which foods are the most delicious. Speaking of delicious foods, they abound and they are CHEAP. I found my favorite store already, where the most incredible Ecuadorian truffles can be bought for 25 cents (American… they are on the U.S. dollar here), fresh ground peanut butter for a dollar, and a block of fancy local cheese for $1.25. Since it´s such a small town, I can walk every day to buy fresh French bread at an amazing bakery called Rico Pan. They even have an entire brand devoted to people with such discerning tastes as mine:

I´m a SNOB... are you?

I´ve been surprised, pleasantly, by small-town living. I think that´s been the biggest culture shock for me. I´ve learned that I have to figure at least a half hour of chatting into my trip any time I leave the house. Everyone here wants to know where I´m from, wants to know what I´m doing in Baños, and wants to help me learn Spanish. Their faces light up when I point to something, ask the word, and say sheepishly in Spanish, ¨I´m trying to learn.¨ Last night, while I waited for my dinner, the shopkeeper sent her little girl over to my table with a Spanish picture dictionary so she could teach me a few words. Everyone here knows about La Bib, so when I tell them I´m working there for two months, they get these huge smiles on their faces. It´s no wonder. La Bib, it turns out, is amazing in every way I hoped it would be, and more.

Fundacion Arte Del Mundo

Every day, a few minutes before we open, tiny faces can be seen peering inside the window, waiting. When we finally open, they burst in, tugging on the volunteers´ sleeves and making their case for a game of Jenga, or Spanish Pictionary, or reading a book together. Because the kids in La Bib speak very little English, they have to help me get by in Spanish, and they are incredibly helpful. While playing Pictionary, I had to draw a word I didn´t know. A little girl reached into her backpack and handed me a Spanish/English dictionary.

Fundacion Arte Del Mundo

At Fundacion Arte del Mundo, there are three programs going on, and I´m lucky to be part of them all: the library, children´s English classes, and night classes in English for adults. There´s also the weekly Intercambios, where English and Spanish speakers gather for a guided discussion in which we each must use the others´ language. I think it helps put the students at ease to realize that, poor as their English may be, my Spanish is much, much worse.

My first day in Baños, I woke up after a sweaty night listening to the volcano to hear ¨Dust in the Wind¨ blaring out on the streets. By the end of the day, I was dancing with thirty or so happy children to a Spanish version of the BeeGees´ ¨Stayin´Alive.¨ It was oddly reassuring and for now, I am staying in Baños. I´ve been here less than a week but I already feel right at home. There is so much here that I want to accomplish at La Bib. Something in me says that Mama Tungurahua will continue to look after Baños, and so I will try to revel in the excitement.

***COMING SOON***

A recap of my first ten days in Ecuador, including such hits as:
The Time I Almost Died
Sobbin´ on a Mountainside
Hide the Volcano
Wild, Wild Horses
You Don´t Look Like an American… Congratulations!
Is That a Volcano or a British Man?

Until then… ¡¡¡CHAO!!!

Written by Sam Kelly

June 4, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized