Tuesday, November 10, 2009


First and foremost, October was the start of

which means lots and lots and lots of all sorts of mangos all over town.




In work news, I was invited to participate in a World Food Day fair in the main plaza. I made a poster about the benefits of various vitamins and minerals and Darwin helped make some carboard cutouts of fruits and vegetables with their benefits listed on the back. I made burritos (minus the tortillas which turned out bad....so basically cups of rice, beans, and pico de gallo) and squash cake to demonstrate how to incorporate more veggies into any meal and how to make a complete protein with beans and rice. We also had a table to promote and give out samples of the goat cheese and dulce de leche from Cabeza de Toro. I couldn't motivate anyone from the community to come out if they weren't going to sell anything, which was disappointing, but at least everyone liked the samples.

Oh, and I got my picture published in a Loja newspaper with a short announcement about the event. The guy on my right is the mayor and the lady on my left is a friend of mine from bball. (Article reads: "TOWN CELEBRATES WORLD FOOD DAY *Zapotillo* The municipality of Zapotillo, along with the support of COSV, NCI, CARE, The Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion, The Children and Family Institute, the Nourish Ecuador program, Zapotillo High School, and other participants, hosted various activities to celebrate World Food Day. Those present included the cantón's mayor, Ramiro Valdivieso, and representatives from the participating institutions. The festivities included expositions about healthy diets followed by traditional dishes, desserts, and exotic drinks prepared with local products.")

Also, we drove by the "landfill" to check it out because we were thinking about starting some garbage/recycling activities with the high school kids here. What we found was pretty disgusting...it turns out that despite the nice sign at the entrance that declares it at a landfill, it is actually a dump where the garbage is brought weekly in uncovered trucks and left until they burn it. Nothing is sorted and nothing is excluded, even though they have worm beds to put the organic garbage in, a cement tank for hospital waste, and a house for sorting recyclables. We found paint, batteries, tires, poison, needles and other hospital waste, aerosols, shoes, organic waste, plastic, cardboard, paper, glass, tin cans, aluminum, etc...all mixed together waiting to be burned. What doesn't burn (tin cans, etc) is left there to presumably go into the next week's fire. The entire perimeter of the dump has garbage strewn about. I'd hate to see the fire that would result if they weren't careful enough burning the trash...can you imagine how quickly things would catch fire at the end of a 4-month dry season? The worm/composting beds lie empty and the only thing in the hospital waste disposal tanks is the garbage from someone's lunch. The house that is meant for sorting recyclables has some bank records from long enough ago that I doubt they've ever actually done anything with the recyclables. It's absolutely disgusting that they pass this off as responsible waste management...they might as well save themselves a lot of time and money and just let everyone burn their own garbage in their homes. UGH.

Other than that, work was kinda slow as we experienced a lack of transportation and electricity. So I took advantage of the opportunity to kick Darwin's butt in Scrabble...yet again.

That's right, cry little man, cry

Hehe, office geckos

In campo news, like I said the Ceibo trees' fruits opened up and gave off these fluffy little cotton-like balls. I should have made a better effort to collect them...it's super soft and people say it makes great pillows. Oh well, maybe next year.

This is another owl we have around here...much smaller than the other one I showed you...about fist-sized.

And in personal news...
The circus came to town! Actually the circus was kinda creepy. The clowns got little boys to come up front and take their shirts off and they had a dance contest to Michael Jackson music and then inevitably made fun of them. Hmm...oh well. At least the fire-eating dude was cool.

And it was my host mom's birthday! In case you didn't catch her in earlier photos, she's the third from your left.

Oh and i just liked this photo...it's funny because you really do see kids driving motorcycles here...but parents usually don't let them until they are like 11 so I guess it's not that bad...???

Oh and it's started getting super hot during the day again. Things get super lazy around noon...notice the dog napping in the middle of the street...

Alright, that's it for now. Abrazos!