Drum Roll, and Placement

           I know my placement! I’m way up in the mountains of Imbabura! Google that beautiful mountain! I’m going to be in the highest area for my region. I lost my sheet with all the location information on it but I remember my supervisor said Fellows last year called it “Pim City” because it’s called “Pimampiro.” It’s about an hour’s drive out of Quito. I’m super excited. I love the mountains and thank god I’m not in the Amazon. Equally as beautiful and yes, so many cool things, but North Carolina has the hot and humid down pat. I’m ready for the altitude chill. Plus, there is a unique diversity of highly poisonous snakes down there. I’m working in an artisan community. My apprenticeship has a vague description but I’m working with an agency there that runs many many different programs, so there’s a variety/combination of work I could do. I think they mostly placed me there because the community asked for someone artsy and there aren’t many others in our group. But I got that artsy feel and if they want me to be artsy, that means I don’t have to care so much about how I dress because, hey, they asked for it. Most places in Ecuador, especially the mountains, are conservative, even more than the South of USA. Shorts are a no-go in Quito. I’ve literally been wearing the same 2 pairs of jeans over and over again. Dresses are also a no-go without tights and I didn’t bring that many tights. Or any. But the community makes lots of crafty things, like quilts. My supervisor said they placed me there because in that area, many girls get pregnant or married at early ages because they don’t know anything else. GCY’s hoping that I can serve as an example to other paths in life and encourage girls to pursue education. I was talking to the Fellow who was placed in this community last year and she said she started a sex ed class in the school if I wanted to continue that work, which I definitely do once my Spanish has improved. Right now I can explain what I want to eat for breakfast but not much more. I think this placement’s a good fit for me.
                    There’s also a community-melding aspect to it as well. There’s an afro-Ecuadorean community about 20 minutes away where my friend Sammy, a Kenyan, is placed and the two don’t mix because of racial reasons. They’re hoping we’ll hang out a bunch and hold soccer games between the two community as to ease the tensions. Sammy’s a cool dude. He has 3 host brothers so his mom really wanted a girl in the house. I told him I’d come over a lot and fill the daughter role. I think there’s also more art work that I don’t know about yet. I’ll probably learn how to do all sorts of artsy fartsy craft fantasticos.
                My host family sounds amazing. Their name is the Rosales. They have three kids; 19, 14?, and 4. They also have 2 TORTUGAS AND A BUNNY. TURTLES. YES. TURTLES. I can’t wait to hangout with the kids. I didn’t realize how much I loved kids until they could teach me Spanish. And they’re usually so patient about it. Many adults get frustrated after trying to explain something to you 5x over but kids don’t mind and try and find different ways to communicate. I’m so happy there are kids in my family. Plus, there’s a 19 year old who can help me find Ecuadorean friends my own age. I don’t want to be stuck only hanging out with GCY Fellows. Not that I don’t love them but I’ll never learn Spanish that way. Oh yeah, and turtles.
             On a side note, the way they told us our placements was they opened the door to a room filled with balloons. Inside the balloons was a tiny slip of paper with your name, location, and apprenticeship on it. To get to the paper, you had to pop your balloon. Mine was bright pink. It was a chaotic, joyful 10 minutes of popping balloons and excited screaming/hugging. I’ll try to find a video/pictures later.
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