October 4, 2003 - Personal Web Site: I am currently a Peace Corps volunteer in the country of Ecuador. I am serving in the Natural Resources Conservation Program in the Amazon Basin.

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ecuador: Peace Corps Ecuador : The Peace Corps in Ecuador: October 4, 2003 - Personal Web Site: I am currently a Peace Corps volunteer in the country of Ecuador. I am serving in the Natural Resources Conservation Program in the Amazon Basin.

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, October 04, 2003 - 9:57 am: Edit Post

I am currently a Peace Corps volunteer in the country of Ecuador. I am serving in the Natural Resources Conservation Program in the Amazon Basin.

I am currently a Peace Corps volunteer in the country of Ecuador. I am serving in the Natural Resources Conservation Program in the Amazon Basin.

2003-10-03 | Amazon Basin, Ecuador

This weekend was an eventful one. A team of U.S. doctors from Washington state invaded the streets of my village for two days in order to give cheap ($1) medical check-ups to the local villagers. Prior to the doctors´ arrival, I planned all the meals, including a combination of Ecuadorian and American foods for the doctors´ health and pleasure. Subsequently, during the weekend I would cook a couple of the American meals that the Ecuadorian cooks were unfamiliar with.
My main purpose was to serve as a translator for those doctors who did not speak Spanish. I sat in on the medical check-ups and got to witness first hand, the many ailments that my neighbors are experiencing. I was shocked by the number of children diagnosed with parasites. A considerable number of women had menstrual complications. One woman was diagnosed pregnant with her 7th child. And one man came in with a broken arm that he had never bothered to have checked out at the local hospital. Throughout the day, the doctors did the check-ups and sold medicine for very cheap prices.

For a change, these doctors were all secular (non-religious) and their only mission was to spend their vacation days in the Amazon, providing medical assistance to a variety of villages like my own.

The night before their departure, the doctors and I played a game of basketball against a team of Ecuadorians. The villagers showed up in droves to witness the international game. It was exciting and amusing, seeing all of the villagers laughing and enjoying the event. We played long and hard, but the Ecuadorians got the best of us, winning by 2 points.

I finally moved into a new house, and after 8 long months of living with families, I am on my own. The house is huge. Too big in fact for the amount of furniture I have. It´s got 5 rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. I managed to fill my bedroom and the living room with furniture. One room has a table in it, two rooms are empty. The kitchen is modern. It has a sink! The bathroom is ultramodern. It´s got a shower, a toilet and a sink and they´re all inside the house (most Amazonian bathrooms are outside). Oddly, while cleaning up the inside of the house, I found a large Amazonian frog in one of the rooms.

In order to get the electricity installed, the owner of the house and I literally had to trek into the rainforest, chop down a palm tree using an ax and machetes, and then drag it out. Next, I dug a huge hole in the ground, next to my house, buried the base of the tree trunk deep into the hole (sound phallic? I´m sexually deprived these days), and then the electric company came the next day and hooked the wiring up to the tree trunk and the house.

I also built a wooden laundry machine in the backyard, and will now build a solar clothes drier (pictures to appear in upcoming journal).

I guess the only thing that´s a little creepy about the house are the spiders that hang out on the walls at night. But the neighbors told me they don´t bite, even though they are known for self-propagating rapidly. Oh, and since there´s a gap between the roof and the rest of the house, lots of insects visit me at night. The children have been visiting me non-stop since I moved in as well.

As I moved all my furniture into the new house, the neighbors came out and watched. They always like to watch what I do. In fact, anytime I go anywhere, they ask “Where are you going?”, and “What are you going to do?” When they see me coming back from somewhere, either on my bike or by bus, they ask “Are you arriving?” and then, “From where are you arriving?”.

When they see me in another nearby town, they ask “Are you sight-seeing?”. It doesn´t seem to occur to them, that I might be running errands, buying food, or going to work somewhere, cuz they always ask me “Are you sight-seeing?”, even though I might be lugging a huge papaya in one hand, and a sack of rice in the other. I feel like I´m often in the spotlight, and sometimes I don´t want to be. But when you live in a small village like me, you´re bound to be the center of attention.

This past week, I have given 6 workshops in three different communities on Nutrition and Family Planning. I travelled two hours by dirt road to get to one of the communities. The workshops were interesting, because I learned that most people here drink their water with brown sugar, don´t eat fruits and veggies every day, eat lots of fried pork, and don´t know what dental floss is. Regarding family planning, well it doesn´t exist much here, considering the average family size is 6 children.

Nevertheless, the villagers were appreciative of the workshops and had many questions for me afterwards. I gave all the workshops at childcare centers where parents arrived for the class. My “compensation” was a free lunch provided by the childcare centers. When people are appreciate of the assistance I give them, they usually give me food. Bananas are the most common give-away item, followed by free-range eggs.

Counterparts Previous | All | Next

2003-09-19 | Quito-Azogues-Loja-Zamora, Ecuador

This week, I participated in an Income Generation and Conservation Workshop, sponsored by the U.S. Peace Corps. Only 15 of us were selected to attend, and each volunteer brought one Ecuadorian counterpart. I brought a Saraguran indian with me.
The workshop consisted of three days of classes given by experts in ecotourism, small-scale product manufacturing using natural materials, and marketing strategies.

Participants also displayed products produced in their communities, such as greeting cards made from recycled paper(which can be produced using used paper, water and a blender), jewelry made from rainforest materials, foodstuffs, and other items.

On the third day of the workshop, we went on a field trip to a butterfly farm, an orchid garden, a hummingbird garden and a river-rafting company.

We stayed in an ecolodge made of wood, with spectacular views of the town of Mindo and the surrounding rainforest.

I am currently traveling by bus back to my site in the Amazon. The trip takes 22 hours, so what I´ve done is divide it up over three days.

The scenery along the spine of the Andes mountains is incredible. As the bus between Quito and Azogues barreled through Andean valleys at break-neck speeds, we passed by many indigenous communities. The hills were rolling and beautiful, often brown due to the lack of rain.

I saw lots of adobe and stone houses with straw roofs. Many indigenous peoples were out working on their farms. The Quichua women, dressed in their traditional garb, including a big puffy dress. As they bent over to work on their crops, their rear ends looked especially large.

Most of the Quichua men wore hats and brilliant-colored ponchos. Many animals were to be seen, including cows, pigs, donkeys and llamas. I also saw a train going in the opposite directions, with passengers piled on top of the roof. And, believe or not, I saw a bus with live sheep piled on top of the roof as well.

After a grueling 9-hour journey, I stopped in the town of Azogues to spend the night. The town is characterized by the large, colonial-era church built high on a hill, that can be seen from miles away due to its brightly-light exterior at night.

On the journey between Azogues and Loja, many indigenous peoples piled onto the bus. As well, many sales-people came aboard hawking food, vitamins, clothing and whatever else they sell.

Tomorrow I will begin the third and final leg of my journey back into the Amazon, and expect to be back in my site after 4.5 hours of travel.

Force 10 Previous | All | Next

2003-08-25 | Loja, Ecuador

Two nights ago, this side of the Amazon experienced one of the most torrential storms ever.
Thunder and lightening raged across the sky, and after having bathed in a nearby river, I stood under the shadow of clouds overhead, and showered in my underwear as the sheets of rain crashed incessantly and without mercy across my body.

The rain poured down with such force that the rivers swelled up and tore out our road. This is the second time this has occured in the last two months. The storm also knocked out electricity in the area. Where there used to be a road, there is now a river.

The chasm in the road is 15 feet wide. The village is now cut off from all transportation. The only way I was able to get out of the Amazon and into Loja was by hitchhiking to the chasm, then crossing over a muddy, slippery log that someone had placed as a foot-bridge. I then hitched a ride to Loja with a trucker who was hauling 10 cattle in the back.

I am now in Loja attending the II Biodiversity Conservation Conference at the Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja. Over 500 people from 15 countries are in attendance.

Scientists, researchers and non-profit reps are giving workshops on flora/fauna, sustainable forestry, conservation techniques, environmental law, plant taxonomy, ecology, etc. The conference will last all week.

I went to a heavy metal concert last night. It was two Peruvian bands. One was called Gore, and the other was called Bloodshed. They were loud and noisy. The crowd went crazy when they played a Black Sabbath tune. Everyone wore black. Everyone had long hair. Everyone banged their heads.


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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ecuador; PCVs in the Field - Ecuador



By merc0052 ( on Saturday, March 06, 2004 - 12:09 am: Edit Post


Soy una Ecuatoriana- Cuencana, que vivo en Canada por nueve ANOS, estoy estudiando Adminitration de pequenas empresas,me graduo en la primavera!
Justamente estuve buscando informacion sobre las conditions de vida de los Ecuatorianos, cuando vi tu web site, buenpo queria decirte, si todavia te encuentras en aquel pais hermoso/ecuador! que lo estes pasandola SUPER!!


By Anonymous (s0106000a958d01fa.vc.shawcable.net - on Monday, July 09, 2007 - 2:54 am: Edit Post

dude you inspire me. whats the deal with this peace corps volunteering business? can any one do it or do you have to be american? i'm coming there in two weeks and i was thinking of volunteering. got any tips?
o yeah, i love the place in the pic. is that your home? i want to buy a place like that lol :). how much do you think it would cost? if one can even buy...
lol alright man, well good luck to you in your endeavours. if you wanna get in touch email me at yoitsmeesh@hotmail.com, call me meesh (hence the email 'yo its meesh')
alright ciao man!!

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