Team Ecuador has had a full couple of weeks since our last blog post. To start with, we miss Kellie very much, but we´re comforted by the fact that she´s safe right now. It´s difficult to look back over everything we´ve done in the last two weeks and summarize, but here it goes.
To start with, we had the opportunity to travel to a remote community of Afro-Ecuadoreans to teach English. The village was called La Loma and was only accessible by a gravel road in the foothills. Getting there was an adventure; of the six times we went, we had car trouble at least half of them. We are now experts in the of art of riding in the backs of pick-up trucks. If it starts to rain, sit with your back to stay dry. (It also helps to remember your rain jacket.) When we actually arrived in La Loma, we had about 25 students from age seven or eight on up. The kids were extremely eager to learn as much as we had time to teach them. On our last day in La Loma we held a graduation for all of our students complete with English notebooks and lots of pictures. It probably took an hour and a half after the graduation to get pictures with everyone and we probably could have taken more!
This week we got to visit our families for the last time. Useful life skills we´ve acquired include peeling potatoes (with a knife, anyone can use a peeler), making empanadas, shuffling cards, and the ability to tell riddles in Spanish. It is sad that we don´t get to spend more time with them, but it has been a wonderful experience getting to share their lives for a little while. We can´t emphasize enough how wonderful the people here are. Many of them have offered us their homes should we come back to visit and we hope that we get the chance to.
At the end of this week we returned to Quito to see a little bit of the historic district. We got to see the Ecuadorean equivalent of the White House, as well as the national library and lots of churches. Construction on one church began in 1603 and it has been under construction ever since.
Our Spanish skills have improved greatly. Now we feel comfortable attending church and Bible studies entirely in Spanish. In fact, last weekend we attended a fire and life safety course in preparation for this week´s teen camp. At first it was a struggle because none of us speak Spanish, but gradually things have improved. We even met a group of college girls this weekend that were surprised to find out that most of us haven´t studied Spanish in years.
And in case you were wondering,¨chuticas¨is the Ecuadorean equivalent of the American expression ¨shoot.¨ The pastor here uses it all the time, even in sermons.