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 September 2005

To Work!

Now that I am out on my own, I feel like I am actually doing productive volunteer work. Last Monday I got cut loose, and went out to JoseGuango Bajo. I met up with the Teniente Politico, I think the equivalent to a mayor, and we he showed me the schools. There are 3 in JoseGuango, but 2 close to the center that I will be able to get to on a regular basis. So, I went into the schools and talked to the teachers. I am going to be teaching natural sciences/ geology/ volcanology to 5 classes from 4th to 7th grades- Tuesdays in the center, Wednesdays in Quisinche. We are first working on understanding the volcano, then on how to save ourselves from it.
The teachers also want to start women’s group with the mothers of the school so they can learn various skills and how to make stuff to live off of if their agriculture land is taken out by a lahar. This is extreme forward thinking for any group of Ecuadorians and I am stoked to start this up.
There are 7 neighborhoods in JoseGuango, and I will eventually be working with the local emergency committee in each of these barrios. I have had one meeting thus far, with the center neighborhood, and it was so very true to Latin American PC meetings that I have heard so much about. The meeting was planned with the president of the neighborhood on a Monday for a Friday. We were going to invite the whole barrio, and re-elect members of the committee. He failed to invite anyone until the day of the meeting, so about 8 people showed up, not including the president himself, who I guess found something better to do. He apparently also failed to tell them why we were having the meeting, or actually told them I was going to give a charla, because they were mad at me when I didn’t have a talk prepared about…. Well they would have liked anything at the time. So, with out anyone from the old committee, and no president, we didn’t elect a new one, and I just winged it and told them about the committees, what’s expected of them, and the importance of being prepared. I threw in a few case studies of successful evacuations and unsuccessful ones. It really worked out well, and was a great meeting in my eyes. I have another one tomorrow with the neighborhood Quisinche (where the other school is). I hope it goes better, but I’m not expecting too much.
I started teaching this week. I was a lot of fun. I went Tuesday to one school. I have 5th, 6th, and 7th grade classes there. They all listened as well as can be expected, and maybe learned something. We played learning games, and I think they liked them and had fun. Hopefully they’ll remember that if nothing else- then geology is associated with fun!!! Lucky kids to have me around, eh? The next day I went to Quisinche, and taught a 4th-5th class, and a 6th-7th. I was worried about 4th graders, but they were way more attentive than this 6th-7th. These older kids were terrible, and not nearly as smart as the other school. They can’t even catch a ball! I guess we should have played catch soccer-style. Anyways, after school, I went to lunch at La Presidente of Quisinche’s house. It was very nice, she is super sweet, and I think will be good to work with, being semi-motivated. Her rice was delish. My meeting with her and her committee is tomorrow.
Yesterday there was a nice looking plume from my volcano. It was almost 2 km high or so. Just gases, and probably just H2O vapor from the snow it got this weekend, but the most visible activity I’ve seen from it. Pete, the volcanologist in Quito, called down here to get my perspective on it, and asked me to watch it and note what it does all day, but the clouds came in about 20 minutes later. Sorry Pete.
This weekend 2 volunteers in Riobamaba (about 2 hours south of here) celebrate their birthdays, so I will be going down there. It will be fun. Maybe I’ll even take some pictures. Hope all is well in whatever part of the world you are reading this from.


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  • At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Helga!
    I have so much I want to say about all of you blogs... I'm so happy for you and so impressed at how quickly you've gotten involved and how much enthusiam I read in your blogs. That's awesome and you're going to finish your two years so successfully! I'm amazed. Anyways... I'm planning a trip to visit you with my friend (or... "friend" that I spend ALL my time with). Email me and we'll work out the logistics.... I was thinking spring or summer. Let me know what you think, when you think would be a convenient time for you and for good weather. I'M COMING!
    Miss you and excited to plan a trip to see you soon! :-)
    +Lauren Abraham


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