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

10 August 2005

Work update

I am now more or less in my site. I love latacunga. I have spent the last week figuring out what it is that i will be doing, and now i know, almost mostly. Civil defense has a plan to get each small barrio from mulalo (15 km north of Latacunga) to salcedo (10 km south of Latacunga) to form a "comite local de emergencias". These are groups of people from the community that are in charge of educating themselves (using civil defense as a resource), and educating others in the community about disasters, preparedness, action and relief. They are also in charge in the event of an emergency. So, it´s civil defence´s job to get people motivated to start these commitees, and they do a good job of it, but i will be their resource to spend time in the communities to work with the people forming the groups, and help them to find the resources to educate themselves, and make sure that they know how to be prepared. I think that civil defense wants meto be in all these barrios at once, but i am going to pick a few that really want to work with me and really need the help, and focus on them, at least to start. I met the presidents of 3 parroquias (kind of like counties), summing to about 50 barrios (about 35 of these are in the hazard zone), and that is not even the beginning of the areas in risk of lahars. lots to do, and i am very excited about it.
Yesterday i went with my counterpart, Marcelo, to Salcedo to give a talk to about 75 kids. it was great fun, although the curriculum needs badly to be changed, it is set up for adults, and even then it is boring. this is a job i am excited to take on- I really want to work with kids and make that a bigger focus for civil defense.
I am also now in my apartment! it is beautiful, and no PCV should live like this. three, yes, count them, 1-2-3 bedrooms. what am i going to do with all those? I guess i´ll have to have some visitors.. all are welcome at all times. a huge sala/comedor, and a tiny kitchen and tiny baño. it´s great. I also got hooked up by civil defense with a stove, gas tank, silverware and dish set, and some mattress pads. it is still falta a real bed and furniture, but i don´t get my settle in allowance until i swear in. I´ll live. It´s back to Cayambe for a while this thursday, then i think i am going to spend a week at the Tungurahua observatory. Life is grand.
Last week i went to the Cotopaxi park, and up to the refugio. it was amazingly beautiful to see the glacier that close. it was windy as hell. next time to the top!
Also, Peace corps issued me a cell, so call whenenver you want. 011-593-9-966-5394
I posted an odd selection of pictures- check them out.