Since I last wrote, a fair bit happened. Sunday we had a huge dance party with our host sibblings, to traditional Tsachila music. Monday morning we went to work, and first thing, they announced that Nina, one of our leaders, was leaving. Personal issues among the leaders; a case of ´differing expectations´. The way it was phrased sounded like our parents were getting divorced! It was unfortunate, and I´ll miss her, but it´s still fine. Right after she left someone said that there was a political rally in Santa Domingo at which the president was speaking, so we all hopped on a truck and left. We got to the rally really early, so we got seats right at the front. It was huge! When President Correa was speaking, he looked right at us (we were easy to pick out, as the only non-Ecuadorians) and started talking about how we were there to witness his country´s revolution. Then he switched to English and asked where we were from and how we were doing! On the main news channel the next day it showed him speaking to us in English. After the rally, the prefects sister found us and wanted to know what we are doing here so the prefect can help. Part of the new constitution apparently is being actively involved in improving quality of life, especially in the countryside, so they want to jump onboard our clean water project. They said it can be hard to figure out what the indigenous groups here want and need, so through us they could have a way in. Some of us are going to meet with the prefect next week probably. His sister came out to our project midweek to look around.
We had maggots for dinner two nights ago, which was the only meal here I haven´t loved. I´m sure they tasted all right, it was just too weird bringing them up to my mouth. I´ve uploaded a picture of them alive in a jar to photobucket, I´ll add the link to the bottom of this post. Last Sunday my host mother pulled out a basket of moldy corn, and invited all of us at our little group of houses to pull it off the cob with her, mush it up, and turn it into a traditional drink called Chicha. It was disgusting work, but pretty fun. We had the drink the next day- normally it´s alcoholic, but they didn´t add cane juice and said because of that, it wouldn´t make us drunk. I liked it, but everyone else hated it. We figured out that it´s because I can´t smell; everyone else was bothered by the fermented bit, but I just tasted the sugar and corn.
Tomorrow the families are going in to Santa Domingo to vote, so we´ve invited all the others who live close to the school to come see our commune and bake chocolate chip cookies with us. It´ll be an adventure; we don´t have measuring tools, and we have to use a bread oven. We´re going shopping after this for ingredients.
This week we dug so many more trenches, about half of which turned out to be not needed. John and I had a different project of fixing the sink where kids wash their hands and get water to flush the toilet. We sledge hammered concrete and pulled out the old pipes and filters, then made a new filter, dug a trench down the hill for the new pipe, put it all together, and covered it in new concrete. It took three days all told, but it actually worked! After that we were moved to making wooden boxes to put on the floor of the new toilets while they lay the cement, to hold the bathroom hole. John does woodworking for his hobby so he was fine, but I found it so hard! We measured wood, then hand sawed for hours, then measured and sawed some more, and finally got to hammer stuff together. He did everything twice as fast as I did, and twice as neat. I had to take my first box apart to make it tighter! I was immensly frustrated by the end.
Yesterday we went on a hike in the rainforest, which was beautiful. I won´t be able to capture how incredible, or how uncomfortable, it was. There are bugs everywhere. I am one large bug bite.
Speaking of which, Zach got a bug bite on his foot which got infected. The doctor in Santo Domingo lanced it a few days ago, then it got worse. Yesterday morning his foot was twice the size of the other, and all red and painful. He went to Quito with Robin and Isabel (who has been feeling faint for a while) to go to the hospital. They cut his foot open to fully drain it! Isabel may have an ear infection or something, I´m not too clear on the details. They are back now, but we haven´t met up with them yet.
I can´t think of more to write just now, but I know there is. I´ll be able to come back into Santo Domingo sometime next week I´m sure, so I´ll put the rest up then!