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 July 2005


I arrived in latacunga yesterday to work with Becky williams, the student from buffalo doing her masters field work. things are going well, she is almost done, and is doing a good job of showing me around. I am staying with oswalso nevas, the head of civil defence, and my counterpart- today was going to me the first training session/workshop i was to attend in a barrio of latacunga, but of course while i was at the office this morning, it was cancelled. welcome to working in ecuador! I am pretty much here for good now except some small trainning sessions that i will travel to cayambe for, and for the swearing in ceremony at the end of august.

05 July 2005

send me stuff

hey friends-
it is all the rage in peace corps, i hear, to get mail and packages. If you love me, send me stuff at
PCT ellen engberg
Cuerpo de Paz
casilla 17-08-8624
Quito, Ecuador
South America

if you want to call me, the number is
we are currently at central time, but my sweet family goes to bedat about 8:30, so be considerate.

miss you all

A time known to a PCT as "week one"

4 July 2005
It’s been quite the week. We started technical training, that’s what they call it so we don’t think it’s the same thing over again, but it is. It’s cool though because we get to go down from the mountain to see the rest of the trainees and bull shit after the “be safe, secure and culturally aware” lesson of the day. We had our interviews with the APCD about placement, but since we already know where I’ll be, we just talked about how cool it is going to be. It was awesome. I am going to my site at Latacunga this weekend to meet with the volcanologists, and the people at civil defense. We are going to take a little drive around Cotopaxi to see the villages that I will be working with, and then into Quito for a couple of days to see the Instituto Geofisico. It feels really good to be the only one that knows where I am going, and get to do special stuff because of it!
After classes on Saturday we went to this karaoke bar and had a blast, everyone else left. We drank and sang until the wee hours (6:00, when the last bus leaves for La Chimba) and had a grand ol’ time (nothing like the fun in the karaoke bar in Chassel). Sunday I got to go to Pifo and hang at my old stomping grounds. It was great to see the fam, and hang in a little gringo paradise. That might be the best resource any PCV could ask for.
Today I started Quichua classes. I am quite stoked. It’s a fun language, and it has simple grammar, so I think I might pick it up fast. It is also great to be learning a third language from the perspective of the second. I think it will help my Spanish a lot too- which, by the way, is serving me quite well. I had two long chats about volcanoes today with my language facilitator and my little bro. Both seemed really interested, and I thrive on that. I also went to the kindergarten class today- like anywhere, savages. Adorable savages. They sang me songs and we played a game with a lobo que tiene hambre (a hungry wolf) that got to basically run around the school yard trying to tackle the other little savages. Fun. I hope to go back and play with them, and maybe even teach them a thing or two, about health perhaps? The whole health aspect of this is silly- some people have degrees in public health, or nutrition, or other things that qualify them for this position, and I have volcanoes. Having to do the health part will be great once I get PC training, but for now I feel like a fake. It’s kind of fun.
We lost one already- she went home within the first week. I can’t even imagine. I still walk around with a grin on my face at all times because this is so perfect. I love my life.
Best wishes to those of you leaving for your two years of fun this week- I hope East Timor and Jamaica are ready!