correa: MAXIMA TENSIÓN

thursday, there was political unrest in ecuador, and it was craziness. i am/was completely safe, but it was for sure an experience!

around 11 in the morning on thursday, i was walking out of the university, and someone came up to me on the street and said i had to go back to the university, and that all the international students weren’t allowed to leave. at this point, i really had no idea what was happening. things in the university were pretty chaotic, and at the time it was hard to piece together everything that was going on… there was just lots of talk about police rioting and airports being closed, and attacks on the president. classes were all canceled, so there were tons of students around the university and the ecuadorian students were mostly all leaving campus. there was tons of traffic, airports were shut down, buses weren’t running, everything was closed, there were reports of increased robberies in quito, and internet and most phones weren’t working. i think most international students stayed at the university for a good part of the afternoon, but our program director snuck us out of the university in her car (rebel), and we went to her house and watched the news. the whole experience was so surreal, watching the news and seeing all the intense conflict that was taking place at that moment, less than 30 minutes from where i was, but at the same time, being so removed from it. i was sitting on a couch, or eating lunch, and watching it all take place on a tv… just surreal. later in the afternoon, i went back to lumbisí, where things were completely calm. it was a huge shift coming from cumbaya at the university to lumbisí, because the general sentiment towards correa at the university is negative, and most people in lumbisí really like correa. throughout everything, i was totally safe, and never felt like i was in any life-threatening danger. and it was exciting to be in ecuador when this was all happening! extreme…

briefly, here’s what went down, from what i understand: correa passed a law that increased the amount of time needed for a promotion, and taking away the monetary rewards for this promotion. although correa says that this will not harm the amount of pay people receive, and that during his term, salaries have increased for policemen. some people think this law was just an excuse for the police to act against the president. in general, correa has been having to make tons of cuts in programs, because of the economy… a lot of people are suffering.

anyway, the police and most of the military went on strike (the ones who didn’t go on strike seemed to be the ones who were higher up), and some of them rioted. since the police were on strike, there was an increase in crime and robbery- i know a couple of banks got robbed. meanwhile, supporters of correa were gathered at his house in el centro historico. correa made some pretty intense statements. (he ripped off his tie and said, kill me if you want, but I’m not changing the law.) after this, correa got attacked by the police with tear gas and burned, and he went to the hospital to be treated. he couldn’t leave the hospital for about 12 hours, because policeman were surrounding the hospital trying to attack him. later in the evening, around the hospital, there was intense fighting between the military (some of whom still remained loyal to correa) and the police, when they were trying to get correa out of the hospital. i think there was also a rally of supporters of correa outside the hospital.

eventually a special forces team got him out, and he made a speech in el centro historico, where he said that he would not forget or forgive what happened with those who rebelled against him.. i’ve heard varying numbers, but I’ve heard that 2 people were killed in the shoot out between the military and the police, and around 80 people were injured overall.

people who were in quito during all this said that streets near them were actually pretty quiet and normal. it seems like there were just pockets of violence, and that a lot of the city seemed relatively calm.

by friday, things in quito were really more or less back to normal. this was so crazy to me, that something so chaotic could happen, and basically shut down all of quito, and then the next day things are all functioning again.

…there are so many varying opinions about correa. this is overgeneralized and oversimplified, but all in all, poorer people tend to side more with correa, and richer people tend to not like him. the general feeling at the university in cumbaya is very negative towards correa and there’s a lot of tension. in lumbisí, people seem to really like him. my family likes correa. to be honest, i really don’t know that much about correa’s policies and how effective they are, and i don’t know the details about the conflict between correa and the university… i really want to learn more, and hear more people’s perspectives about politics here. (thoughts anyone?)

pero… que caos, no? fue interesante.

también, here’s some pics: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11448098

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volunteering!

hola a todos!

this is just a quick post, but i just got done volunteering at a after school program (we do english teaching and homework help and chillling out), and i seriously love it so much already! this has been my second day doing it, and the kids have so much awesome energy! love ’em.

today there was about 15 kids, ages 7 to 12 (around that anyway). there is such a good, different mixture of personalities and strengths. i’m really excited about getting to know all the kids more.

we’re (the other volunteers and me) are trying to figure out lesson plans and ways to improve the program… and i’m getting so excited thinking about it! i think there are tons of really creative, fun things we could do- it will be so much fun. any input?

peace out.

(off to quito for chocolate fondue. chevere. super chevere. chao.)

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quick update….

so my neighbor has wireless now, and i can sometimes use it from my roof. which is what i’m doing right now. it’s a pretty sweet set up. & i loveee my roof, i could sit up here forever probably. there’s amazingly beautiful views of mountains on all sides. i can also see into my abuelita’s garden… she has tons of deliciousness there- lemons, avocados, roses (which me and my host sis picked today.. i now have a vase of them in my room..yesss. they’re gorgeous.) the longer i’m here, the more i feel like this town and this family are such a great fit for me.

& here’s some bullet points from my life. today i…

– had two classes: lengua y cultura and spanish grammar. i’ve been really liking my classes so far. tomorrow, i have yoga, my film class, and a spanish conversation class. none of my classes have more than 15 people and all my profs are great! i’ve especially been liking lengua y cultura (we’re talking a lot about the history of colonization and how it affects things, racism, etc, today & just a lot about social problems in general) and yoga (my teacher is super pleasant and i feel like i’m learning a lot).

– skyped with my fam! it was so much fun to talk to them, i’ve missed them. (hey guys! love ya! i don’t know if you read this or not… haha)

– went to visit fevi, the organization where i’ll be volunteering. i start tomorrow at the after school program, i’m excitedddd. i especially can’t wait to meet all the kids. there was so much energy at the after school program today.. it will be great!

– chilled with my host sibs for awhile. we made supper and watched some of nine. and me and my toddler brother had a massive tickle fight.

& nowww, my and my host sis are going to paint our toenails. and listen to beyonce. she loves the single ladies song. haha.

peace, all! te quiero.

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some photos…

hey all.

classes have started here, and i’m really enjoying them. so far, i’ve especially liked yoga, a south american cinema class, and a class that looks at inequalities in ecuador.

here’s a couple pics!

my backyard..

a couple pics of the area around my house in lumbisi:

the center park area of lumbisi:

also: this weekend, we’re going to otavalo, the biggest open air market in south america. yes, please.

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tranquillo

lumbisi (where i live) really has a general sense of contentment. it’s very calm and people always seem to be fully present in what they’re doing at the moment. it’s so nice…

lumbisi is an indigenous village (i think about 3,000 people live here) that’s kind of nestled in the mountains and has the feel of a really close-knit community. everyone says hi to each other on the street. there’s always lots of little children running around and playing. also, there’s lots of chicken, cows, and dogs around here also.

another cool thing about lumbisi is that no one owns the land, the land belongs to the whole community. so, when something for the whole community needs to be built, like the church or a garden or a child care center, the whole community builds the thing together.

there’s a kids center and an organic garden right by my house. i’m going to start volunteering there in the next couple of weeks. there’s also been some mention of putting together english classes (for kids and adults), which i think would be awesome to get involved in.

p.s.: classes start tomorrow in the a.m.! i feel ready. also, i am going with someone to visit a church tomorrow morning, i can’t wait to get involved in one here.

hope things with you are great!

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my first ecuadorian day!

so i got here a little over a week ago, but i haven’t really had internet access. here’s some of my first day here in ecuador (which was last sunday).. i’ll post some more later. been LOVING everything so far!

my first ecuadorian day

i got safely into quito on saturday night, so sunday was my first full day here in lumbisi. it has been incredibly great so far… in a lot of ways, i feel really at home here. here’s a few highlights from my first day in the village.

–       woke up to an unreal view of the mountains! it was dark when i got into lumbisi, so i couldn’t see the scenery, but this is what i saw when i opened my curtains to look out my window…

–       went to the community soccer game! lumbisi is an extremely community oriented town, it seems like. there are different soccer teams made up of people from the town, and we went their championship tournament game. a lot of lumbisi was at the game- so fun.

–       jammed to some musica with my host bro! my host brother alex is so much fun. he loves music and is learning guitar. we listened to a lot of music on my laptop. it felt kind of surreal to be sitting in this little ecuadorian living room listening to the red hot chili peppers- haha. he especially likes classic rock, so we listened to a lot of acdc and rolling stones.

–       got a tour of lumbisi from my host sis! grace, my host sister, is really great. she showed me around the town, and showed me the family’s pigs and guinea pigs. we also have a cow and my abuelita has some chickens. my family is related to a lot of the town… my dad told me he has 40 to 50 cousins who live here in lumbisi. our neighbors live all around us, and there are always relatives hanging out in our house, it’s really fun:)

–       ate delicious food! my host mom made me this awesome banana smoothie for breakfast, with a lot of other things, including fresh papaya and pineapple. everything is super fresh, and a lot of it is straight from the garden. and! we have an avocado tree in our backyard. oh yeah.

i spent the whole day with my host siblings; it was so fun hanging out with them. i get along really well with them and my host parents already, i’m excited to get to know them and lumbisi more. also, being surrounded by spanish all the time is so much fun.

chevere.

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host family!

we just got our family info 🙂

i’m living in lumbisi, a native community that’s a 15 minute bus ride from my school. (i’m PUMPED.)

my family has 3 kids: one in high school, one in elementary school, and one in preschool. YES- can’t wait to meet them.

countdown: 10 days.

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