Interesting things that have happened in my first few days here include-
- there is an ostrich across the road from my house
- started my internship where I work from 8ish to whenever we run out of things to do
- went on a 'visit' with a social worker and got to see her calmly ask our to pry a door out its hinges so we could reclaim a little girl's clothes as we moved her to a safer home
- woke up at 2:30AM this morning to help my new host family butcher 70ish chickens
- had my first 'real' salad here (real by American standards- it wasn't cooked any way!)
My New Host Family-
Gabriel- My host dad is a professor by trade, he teaches day and night classes on the subject of solidarity economy model. So his students usually are interested in forming cooperatives or other community enterprises. He is also very socially and politically active, his lived in Cariacu his whole and has served on all sorts of boards and committees, including currently one focused on stopping alcohol and drug abuse in children and teens. I haven't really seen him for half the week because he's attending a huge protest against government mining policy in Quito.
Isabel- My host mom is definitely the heart of the family. She basically runs the farm herself (the business and production parts) and therefore is constantly working. She milks cows, single handily kills 70 some chicken and makes almost all our meals and her work isn't halfway done. She loves having students at the house so talking with her is always super easy. She's also really connected to her indigenous heritage and practices traditional medicine and teaches Quichawa.
Katty- My 19-year-old sister is pretty quiet and reserved. I found out yesterday that she is roughly 8 months pregnant (it doesn't show), thankfully my awkwardness in responding to this news was blamed on my poor Spanish skills. As I understand it, while the father of the baby is completely out of the picture Katty is still planning to attend a small private university in Quito to study agriculture in the fall. Til then she helps Isabel out in all the never-ending farm work.
Sumac- My 14-year old brother is even more shy than his sister, but once you get to know him he's quite the comedian. He plays guitar very well and like Katty he assists in almost all the farm work. He also seems to have a very active social life in Cayambe, playing on a school soccer team among other things so he tends to get home rather late.
Don Pedro- While not part of my host family by blood, Isabel says he's like a father to her and he helps out in all manner of ways around the farm. Him and Isabel are a good team when it comes to things like butchering chickens or doing things with traditional herbs. He loves talking politics and negotiating business deals
Chloe- My fellow host student hails from southern France. She is in her 3rd year of university and works with me at the INFA Center. Sometimes we have the same job and days we do completely different things, but it seems like usually we'll be able to go to lunch together. It's also very nice that Chloe has lived here for at least month and is more than happy to show me around Cayambe. We are at about the same level of Spanish so when we talk to each other understanding usually isn't an issue.
Adelaine- My other fellow host student is also from France. She's in her final year of university and speaks excellent Spanish after having lived in South America for 9 months. She's like a cool older sister or cousin to Chloe and I and works at another INFA center in a town 20minutes from Cayambe.
To sun up quick- I really like my new host family. They a little more hands off then my last family, possibly because we students actually sleep in a separate building. I am very glad there are other students here with me so I have someone to share weird cultural observations and it's super nice to have Chloe as my instant work friend. Plus since English is a second language for them it's way easier for all of us to only speak Spanish to each other. Stay tuned for sometime in the coming week for a better explanation of what my new home And job