ellen vs. the volcano volcano

This is my personal blog and does not reflect the views and ideas of the US government or Peace Corps

29 June 2005

the adventure begins

June 26, 2005
It has begun!! I officially became a PCT (Peace Corps trainee) last Monday, June 22nd. I met my fellow PCTs in Washington DC, and we embarked Wednesday to the great country of El Ecuador. We went through the basic rules, safety and security, and now here I sit this Sunday night at my computer in my host family’s house in the tiny pueblo of La Chamba, at ~3300 meters on the flanks of El Volcan Cayambe- with no clue as to when I am going to be able to post this on the internet.
I live in a great little house with all the amenities: occasional running water, electricity that dims every time someone in the pueblo uses something new, and, get this, a luke warm shower heated by electric coils. It doesn’t get much better. It is cold here, being so high, and quite close to the nevado (snowy part of the volcano). It feels great to get to use the heavy clothes that I packed.
My host family is awesome. My Madre wears the traditional Cayambena indigenous clothes, but doesn’t speak much Quichua. She’s an awesome lady, and I am so glad that she has welcomed me into her home. The first time I met my Padre, he had to be drug home from the fiestas- I think he was a little embarrassed the next day. I have a little sis named Gabbi- she’s 17, and my new best friend. My little bro is Edwin, and also a lot of fun. He’s 18, and finishing the Colegio this week, so he’s pretty busy. I think he’s kind of a jokester too, so that’s good. The whole crew is more than I was expecting, and after only one day, I already feel comfortable in their home. And that was the only fear that I could ever come up with in all the “address your fears” parts of this early training. Now, I got nothing left to write down next time they ask me about my anxieties.
I think that my schedule is totally planned out for training, so free time is at a minimum. Sort of a good thing to get me used to working here, and being out and about, but bad for the afternoon naps that I so love.
The other people in my training group are great too. Barak, Mary Catherine, David, and Megan all live here in La Chimba with me. It’s a pretty good group. I’m bummed to be so far away from some of the others, like Renee, Kendra and Ryan, who I think are going to be great new friends. We do, however all meet on Fridays, and various other times, so it’s not really a quick hello and good bye.
All in all, I am totally stoked at all hours of the day. I am so happy to be here, in Ecuador, and in this awesome rural village of La Chimba. My families- both host and peace corps- are great. There’s times when I miss you people in Houghton, and Seattle, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.