Walking through the Cajabamba market having all the people stare, bopping along to my american music, admiring the amazing mountainside and peaceful small town around me; I felt at home while embracing two conflicting cultures.
If you have never experienced an indigenous market in Ecuador, you really need to!! It is a burst of color, sounds and people. The pushing and shoving, the cars going down tiny streets already bursting with people, vendors shouting at you to come buy their products, the vast amount of stuff!! It´s enough to make your head explode sometimes! Which is why I only go to market every other week if I can help it, and not usually the Cajabamba market. I went out to buy a clove of garlic (which I bought for $0.25) and look at kittens. So as was enjoying the experience walking back to the animal section of the market, watching people stare, then poking their neighbor to tell them to stare at the gringa, I was enjoying my wonderful American music and appreciating the fact that I am in Ecuador, living it up!! I eventually meandered my way back to the cats and fell in love!!! This tiny little white ball of fluff that smelled only faintly of poo, and which snuggled immediately under my neck. I said I´d take it, even though I only came to look. Ha! Yea right! And now, 3 days later, let me tell you that kittens are kind of annoying!!!! They need to be held and touched all the time, and mine never likes to be away from me, meowing every time I leave it, or even just when it wants me to hold it. But the cuteness makes up for it!! I think I have settled on a name, Bug, however, Araña would be more appropriate. She has this habit of climbing up me, clinging with her nails, when she wants to be near me. She just scurries right on up until she is sitting on my shoulder. Kind of amusing.
Well, now for all you blog followers who have no idea what I have been up to…. Let me tell you. I have finally settled in to life here in Cajabamba. I actually like it now that I have moved into a nicer house! I am working in Santa Rosa still, usually go every Monday and teach them random things such as how to make Te de estiercol (manure tea), compost, and organic pesticides using garlic and hot peppers, and on Monday how to make sugar cookies!! We are working to find money to build a large greenhouse so the people from this community can increase their income and bring in new plants to the area that otherwise wouldn´t grow at that altitude. I am also working with my Foundation (Fundacion Rescate). We have a large goal/project in mind. It is a teaching farm here in Cajabamba. We want a farm with organic crops, chickens and pigs, in order to teach the people in the surrounding communities organic and sustainable practices. It would be a great undertaking, but with such great rewards!! Of course the problem we have with this is money: money to buy land and startup costs. SO that is what I am working no now: writing grants. Fun work, especially when you´ve never done it before!! So that´s a work update.
I have also been traveling a little bit. We went to Macas and celebrated Thanksgiving there with some other volunteers. We had turkey, stuffing, cranberries, apple pie, and lots of other great food!! It was really cool getting to meet some of the other volunteers I hadn´t had a chance to meet yet. There´s a lot of cool people in Peace Corps! I also recently travelled to LaAsuncion near Guaranda to visit Leah and ended up riding a pony in the lead of the parade for her town, for more details see Leah Anderson Smith´s blog. There have been some other small trips here and there, Cuenca for Halloween and Chaza Juan. But that´s about it on my adventures. I´ll try to write more often!! Love you all!!!