Fellows' Blog Archives

Cultural Exploration: All Posts

My host brother, the metaphor

My host brother, the metaphor
by | November 21, 2014

My youngest host brother is six years old. His name is Edy.
On September 20th, when I arrived in Napo, Edy came with my host parents to pick me up from Tena, the capital of Napo, and bring me to Santa Rita. While my host parents introduced themselves smiling, Edy clung to my host dad’s pants and refused to make eye contact.
During my first few days in Santa Rita, I diligently used every strategy babysitting in the United States had taught me to try to win Edy over: copying him and seeing if it makes him laugh, asking him…

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Ting, the pet of Sinchi Warm

An Average 24 Hours
by | November 21, 2014

Wake up at 5:30AM.
5:30AM-6:15AM: Generally spent washing clothes in Rio Napo.
6:15AM-7:00AM: Breakfast. Usually a combination of rice, eggs, bread, plantain, and of course, guayusa.*
7:05AM-3:30PM: Off to work at Sinchi Warm…. There is no such thing as an average day at Sinchi Warmi. Potential activities include:

Organizing our artisanship displays.
Jungle Walks! Learning about indigenous practices with native plants.
Occasionally translating for non-Spanish speaking tourists.
Cleaning the cabanas.
Feeding TING-TING! Sinchi’s pet huatusa.
AND MUCH MUCH MORE!

3:30PM-4:30PM: I can mostly likely be found swimming in Rio Napo.
4:30PM-5:30PM: Lounging with family.
6:00PM: Dinner. Most likely a combination of soup, rice, yuca, chicken, or fish.

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Festivities of Cuenca
by | November 21, 2014

Fridays nights are usually spent in the yogurt room outside the house. Two huge vats await my host mom and other women, ready to turn plain yogurt into delicious concoctions. This Friday night was a little more special because in two days, it would be the Independence Day of Cuenca and we were in full production. With a little over 40 liters of milk, yogurt had been forming since morning. With the unveiling of the pots, the process had started. Marmalades were being blended into the plain yogurt and then bottled, color coded, and labeled. Into the night we had…

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6. Mango Tree Revelations
by | November 21, 2014

When I first arrived in Thiadiaye in the beginning of October, everything was new and fresh and begging for my attention. Yaay would take me to the Luma (the farmers’ market of Senegal) and every basket was full of vegetables, every table laden with fresh fish, every tent offering colorful cloth, and beautiful jewelry, and donkey harnesses were exciting and exotic.
As I passed through the gauntlet of elderly women occupying the shade of trees along my road, it was always an enchanting novelty to have them fawn over my hair and to dance to the clapping of their hands.…

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alice3

In Need of Grace
by | November 21, 2014

A small cloud of hot sand followed my swift steps as I walked home from teaching preschool. As I reached my gate I saw sema yaay (my mother in Wolof) regally dressed in a vibrant pink and blue boubou sitting below our lemon tree in her plastic lawn chair. As I approached her, my shoulders were back and a small smile was on my lips. I was proud that I had gone to preschool early on my day off. I extended my hand to greet sema yaay, expecting her to say, “Naka ecole?”, but instead her finger started waggling, her…

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Jillian Doke

Good and Bad Do Not Exist
by | November 21, 2014

I woke up before the crack of dawn to groggily slide my way into the backseat of my brother-in-law’s truck, squeezing in four sisters with me. As we were making our way to Cotopaxi for a giant parade, I looked out the window into the sky that was still dark, and saw Mount Cumbaya rising through the clouds and stars with a snow-capped peak. From where I was (on top of another mountain), it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Arriving at the parade, I began to tear up with joy, being surrounded by my fellow…

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Welcome to Tres Juanes!
by | November 21, 2014

The barrio I live in is called Tres Juanes because three Juans live here, but Tres Juanes is in the paroquia of Picahiua, named so because if you pick (pica) at the ground enough, you will reach the best water (agua) in the province (Tungurahua). All of the roads are either dirt or cobbled, and there is a house down the road with a little store that sells cookies and deodorant in a glass case. And if you ask for one, a lady will go behind the house and pluck a chicken for you to bring home for soup; I…

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