Currently Making Me Smile…

My Friends’ Children

While Paul and I are often a source of amusement and curiosity for random children on the street and on buses, there is a special thrill when we are sought out by children we actually know. Nothing beats a running hug from my little host sister after I haven’t bumped into her for a few days or being called over to a Children’s Day celebration to hug my friend’s son dressed up like a little mouse. This little cutie above comes to the Mujeres Cambia meetings with his mom and always has a gorgeous smile for me that makes my day.

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Being Invited to Celebrate

It seems like there is a new holiday each week to celebrate. Whether it is Children’s Day (June 1st – you just missed it!), the local Parish Festival, a Saint’s Day, or Mother’s Day, Ecuadorians know how to party. It’s always nice to be invited but doubly so when you’re new in town. We’ve enjoyed quite a few festivities lately but nothing was more spectacular than the fireworks display for the patron saint of our town. I’ve never been so close to fireworks in my life (something that for fear of litigation would never happen in the States) and again I was cursing myself for having left my camera at home.

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Completing a Large Order for Mujeres Cambia

We’ve had so much interest in the handmade jewelry by Mujeres Cambia that we almost don’t know what to do with ourselves. It’s coming from all sides (I’m certainly not complaining) and we are expanding the group to include several new women’s groups from neighboring towns. Paul and I also taught our HIV/AIDS group how to make the beads and they are spending the time until our next meeting practicing. Our little host sister is even getting in on it – we’re off in a half an hour to teach another workshop where she will be a participant!

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Making Sushi with a New Friend

This past week we had another Peace Corps Volunteer over for dinner who lives in the area. **Kelsea** didn’t come empty handed either! She brought the most delicious peanut butter and chocolate bars I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to try the recipe myself. While she was over we made vegetarian sushi, enjoyed wine and cheese (finally found some decent cheddar), and discussed all things Peace Corps. It’s nice to know that we’re not alone and that someone else has had to navigate not only the cultural transition but the PC¬†bureaucracy, too.

Here’s to making new friends! Enjoy, Mari

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