July Catching Up…

So, it’s been a little while since I posted (longer than you can tell since I pre-publish posts when internet is working well). This is due to a number of factors, including but not limited to: our trip to Cuenca, diving back into work with Mujeres Cambia and Neo Juventud, power outages, internet disfunction, the Peace Corps Volunteer Advisory Committee Calendar I am designing, and oh yeah – life!

Here a summary of what I would have posted about if I had had the time, energy, and internet accessibility in the past few weeks to do so.

Enjoy! Mari


Happy Anniversary to Us!


It’s been two years since Paul and I tied the knot officially (though we were Domestic Partners for a while before then) and we had a lovely time celebrating during our trip to Cuenca. We were surrounded by friends old and new and had a blast as we splurged for a night at the Hostería Dos Chorreras in Cajas National Park.


Happy Fourth of July!


We missed spending time with the Casey Fam this Fourth of July but we did celebrate with friends in Cuenca. What’s more “American” than going out to eat Indian food? We heard some fireworks go off but didn’t see any (until this past weekend at our site, but more on that later…).


It’s a Small World After All


We had been in Cuenca for less than two hours before we ran into some friends on the street. We had an amazing time staying with **Natalia** (pictured center) and her family and had the chance to hang out with friends, too. Thanks for being such great hosts **Mathilde**, **Stephanie**, **Clare**, and **Nikki** (not pictured).


Friends for Life


While in Cuenca I had the chance to revisit the orphanage where I volunteered for a summer when I was 16 years old. Although the orphanage has moved to a different location and the old building is mainly used for parking now, it was amazing to see my old stomping grounds. I also had the chance to visit with two friends who I met while volunteering that summer. **Jaime** and **Juan Pablo** had also been volunteering at the same orphanage and we became fast friends. Every time I’m in the area I look them up and we get together again. It’s so nice to know that time can pass but that some friends really are forever.


Tech Exchange



The main reason we went to Cuenca in the first place was to do a Tech Exchange with our friend and fellow PCV **Clare**. We led two workshops with her English teachers on how to do recycled art projects. Paul and I demonstrated the Tetra Pak wallet, plastic bottle flowers, paper wallets, and magazine beads. The teachers learned some new English vocabulary including “odd” and “even” numbers and were happy to learn new skills while practicing English. We were so happy that other PCVS joined us – **Nikki** (pictured above), **Mathilde**, **Stephanie**, **Ben**, and **Saira** all tried their hand at making some beads.


Mujeres Cambia Going Strong


What can I say about these ladies? They inspire me to give 110% every single day. This month we’ve launched the Mujeres Cambia Website, been accepted into two stores in and around Cuenca,  elected officers for the group, and been invited to showcase our jewelry at a large festival by the Ministry of Culture.




Fishing is really important in our neck of the woods so it’s no surprise that there are large festivities each year to celebrate La Virgen de Carmen (Patron Saint of Fishermen). Throughout the four day festival we worked two different events selling Palmar Pizza. The night of the huge fireworks display (right in front of our pizzeria) we had our most successful night of pizza sales to date! Our pizza experiment has been so successful there are talks of opening another location closer to the center of town in the future. We’ll see…for now one pizzeria is enough for us.


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2 responses to “July Catching Up…”

  1. Lacey Upton says :

    Haven’t commented in a while, but love seeing the updates. Happy summer to you both and think of you often! xo

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