Archive | January 2012

Our 24 Hour Clock


In Training we’re learning about the different types of participatory tools that we can use to better understand our sites in order to assess how we can best serve our communities. One of them is called the 24 Hour Clock and it delineates what the average man or woman’s day is like. In many cases it varies between the average Ecuadorian man or woman (same as in the States, I’m sure) but for us, right now, we do almost everything together so our clock looks the same.

Here is a look at our daily schedule…

6:15am wake up

7:00am eat breakfast

7:30am catch bus “Collaqui”

8:00am start training classes at the PC Center

1:00-2:00pm eat lunch

2pm – 5pm more training classes

6:00pm get home and rest

7:00pm eat dinner & talk with our host mom

8:00pm-9:30pm talk, play cards with our host mom, do homework, and rest

10:00pm watch a little TV & go to bed

On weekends, our plans vary.


On Saturday we got straight to work after el café so that we could learn how to wash our clothes on la piedra. It’s called, “the rock” because it’s basically just a cement sink basin with a flat top on which you beat, squeeze, and ring your clothes. Our host mom is a pro so she walked us through how to do it and reminisced about how her husband used to help her with the chores, as well. I would have liked to have met him from all of the great things we hear about him. Unfortunately, he passed away two years ago and as our host mom says, it’s good that we’re around to keep her such great company.

After we finished putting up the clothing to dry (and fixing one of the clotheslines that fell down from the weight of our huge load of laundry) we met our host mother’s eldest son and his family on our way to shop for lunch and craft supplies. We went shopping for ingredients so that we could treat our host mom to a lunch of homemade Mexican food. She loved learning how to make quesadillas, pico de gallo, guacamole, and black beans. Although it may seem like the same food to people in The States, Ecuadorian and Mexican food are not the same!

After almuerzo we did some homework and relaxed. Then, it was time to iron our dry clothing and put it away. Finally, we ate dinner, played cards, watched a little TV, and went to bed on the early side so we could wake up for Sunday’s festivities.


We’ll have to do another post devoted solely to our amazing adventure on Sunday but suffice to say it was a big morning. We woke up early to go to a town called Calderón for the Championship game for the 14 and under boys’ soccer team. This is the first time that Tumbaco has gone to the Championships for the 14 and under team so everyone was very excited. Our host brother is an assistant coach for the team and our host mom’s grandson is on the team so we got to ride on the Team Bus.

The good news is it was an awesome day but the bad news is that we came out as Vice Champions after losing the game 3-2. In our opinion (and a lot of people agree) Tumbaco lost the game because of a bad call by one of the referees who called a penalty kick when it was really just good acting on the part of the other team inside of the goalie box. Players seem to learn from a young age how to play up potential penalties…

So, that’s basically our “24 Hour Clock” from this past week.

Hope you enjoyed, Mari & Paul

The Tumbaco Index


# of days in Ecuador


# of nights staying with host family


# of dogs that live in the host family compound


# of dogs that we can hear barking in the morning


# of dogs that we can hear howling at night


# of dogs that swarmed our group in Puembo town square


Approximate % of meals we eat with a side of rice


Approximate % of meals served with at least once starch


Approximate % of meals served with two starches


Average # of times per day we say, “buenos días”


Average # of times per day we say, “buenas tardes”


Average # of times per day we say, “buenas noches”


Difference in hours of our Brooklyn & Ecuador bedtimes


Difference in minutes of Paul’s commute


Difference in minutes of Mari’s commute


# of Safety/Security Workshops thus far


# of Health Workshops thus far


# of shots Mari has had during Training


# of shots Paul has had during Training


Approximate # of photos Mari has taken


Approximate % of photos that Mari is in


Days until Paul & Mari know their Site Assignment


% of day that Paul & Mari spend speaking Spanish


A Few of Our Favorite Things: Tumbaco Edition

Here we are in beautiful Tumbaco, Ecuador on the cusp of the Rainy Season (I think it started early here actually) and we couldn’t be happier. Here’s a brief list of a few things that have made us smile so far. Enjoy, Mari & Paul

Napping with the sound of the rain in the background

Watching a cow be chased by five dogs around a field

Laughing with our host mom after a Paul faux pas

Watching the clouds lift and the mountains emerge

Walking around the open air market with our host mom

Recognizing the Ecuador smell as soon as we arrived at the Training Center

Having the top floor of our host family’s house to ourselves

Chatting with other Trainees during breaks

Cheering for El Oriente at a gorgeous fútbol stadium with mountain views

Walking around our neighborhood and marveling at the avocado, mango, and lime trees

Fútbol y Football


While my family in Boston was gearing up for the Patriots vs. Ravens game yesterday, Paul and I went to another kind of fútbol game. We attended a game of the local soccer club, El Oriente, which our host mom and brother manage and our other host brother plays for. Unfortunately, the game didn’t result in a win (we lost 4-3) but it was an incredible experience all the same.

We enjoyed the spectacular view of the mountains in the background (the clouds are obscuring them a bit in the panorama above) as well as un plato típico for lunch at the stadium.

Here’s a list of vocabulary words we learned at the game:

Campo de fútbol = soccer field

Futbolista = soccer player

Arquero = goalkeeper

Arco = goal (as in where the goalkeeper stands)

El Tiro Libre = free kick

El Árbitro = referee

Tirar = to shoot

La Liga = the league

El Empate = tie (as in a draw)

La Tarjeta Amarilla = yellow card

La Tarjeta Roja = red card

El Tiro de Esquina = corner kick

El Estadio = stadium

El Penalty = penalty

El Cambio = substitution

El Reserva = substitute

Staging Video


Enjoy this glimpse into what Staging was like in Dallas, TX for Omnibus 107 before we arrived in Tumbaco, Ecuador to start Training.

Enjoy, Mari & Paul

New Horizons


By the time this post publishes, we’ll be on a plane to Quito, Ecuador with 35 of our new best friends at our side. During our Staging in Dallas, TX, we met one another, went over expectations, walked around a shopping mall (our hotel is part of the mall here), ate our last big American meals, and prepared as best as we could for what’s to come.

While so much is still unknown, what we do know is that we are all inextricably linked and from this point on we’re in it together.

Your friends from Omnibus 107, Mari & Paul

Look What Got into the Suitcases!



The time has come and we’re on our way to Ecuador. We will miss our family and friends so much but luckily we get to take some of our family with us to Peace Corps!

Enjoy, Mari & Paul

Leaving on a Jet Plane…


It’s our last morning in Virginia. We’re off to Dallas, Texas for Staging and then on Thursday we’re flying to Ecuador! Safe travels to all Omnibus 107-ers. Can’t wait to meet you all.

Take care, Mari & Paul


Never Forget

Mrs. King Kisses Rev. King after Boycott Guilty Verdict, March 22, 1956.

Gene Herrick, Courtesy of Stephen Kasher Gallery


In his own words…

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.


All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.


Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.


Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.


He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.


I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

Arrest of Dr. Martin Luther King, 1958.

©Charles Moore/Blackstar/Eyevine

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