Monday, November 22, 2010

Well, work was slow last week because the municipal dump truck was unavailable to take construction materials out to the communities and there were no classes because the federal government decided to employ high school students to take the national census, thus they needed to take them out of classes for a full week to train them. =( I guess the positive side of all of this is that I can finally update ye olde bloge. At this rate, maybe by the end of the year I’ll be caught up, hootie hoo!

So, in July I went home on home leave. Home Leave is one of the excellent benefits of being a PC volunteer...they give you up to a month of home leave and tickets home when you decide to extend your service beyond your initial two years. So off to Chicago it was! Dad, Andy, and I took a trip to some really great parks in the UP...lots of hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming, and SUN! Came back to Lombard, visited Jen in Chicago (they were filming Transformers, that was kind of cool) and Jen and Betsy came out to visit me. We did a lot of shopping, seeing as most of my clothes looked about like most peoples´ do after two years in Peace Corps. We also did a lot of eating unhealthy American foods, yum yum yum! 

Kayaking in the UP

 Enjoying eating way too much food with Andy and Papa Nelson

Dad at Porcupine Mtns

 Andy at Muskellonge

Waterfalls at Porcupine Mtns

A tribute to my love at Sleeping Bear Dunes

Andy and I get lost at Sleeping Bear Dunes....FOLLOW THE TRAIL!!!

Dad kayaking just before he got tipped over by karma.

I got back in site just in time to work...JUST KIDDING! Actually I got back in August which, if you remember from last year’s blog, is basically one big, month-long fiesta. Of course I couldn’t miss that! This year I got to see the town beauty pageant and some other things, but was actually quite busy with events that we had in honor of Bolívar: an educational-center dedication, a bike race in the reserve, a fishing competition, and a ¨cultural night.¨  I’d like to add that August is a really great time for visits to Zapotillo if you want to see the town- it is still warm, but relatively dry, most people are back for vacation, and the festivals mean there are things to do. However, the forest is dry so this is not a good time if you want to see the forest green or hang out in waterfalls, etc. 

 Reina competition!!

 My moto-taxi driving, bmx-ing buddy...btw, the only Zapotillo bmx-er

 This guy fell a lot, much like he did about a half of a second after this photo.

So this picture didn´t turn out as I had hoped, but they were launching themselves off of the top of a moving truck, so they used the loader like an elevator to get on top of the in Zapotillo, safety always never comes first.

 This is the only kid who didn´t look grumpy throughout the whole parade. What a badass.

 My man, Rommel, looking sharp as always.

 Bike race track

September was, as far as I can remember it, rather uneventful. I was in the process of getting my service extended another year, so that was at least frustrating enough to keep life interesting. I got sent to Quito for that, to basically copy stuff from my physical a few months back to a new form. Yay 40+ hours on a bus for something completely unnecessary! Luckily, our grant for building pig pens and chicken coops ($5000 from USAID) got approved so I took advantage of the trip to accompany the Ranchers Association’s president to sign the grant contract. Ohhh AND there was this ceremony in the high school where they award the valedictorians and everyone in the graduating class has to swear, on bended knee, his or her fidelity to the nation’s flag, and then give it a kiss. I loved every minute of that ceremony just like you all love watching ¨Triumph of the Will,¨ though that may be exaggerating a bit. Oh well, I got invited to free food and beer afterwards so I can’t complain. 
 Rommel´s baby sister, Solange. So cute!

 Apparantly the kids wanted to play modeling at some point in September, because that´s all I´ve got pictures of!

  My 12th graders at their flag-kissing ceremony

 Next up...Galápagos!