A (somewhat long) postcard from Azogues…

I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that the last 2 weeks feel a whole lot more like 2 months…such an incredible amount of things have happened.

I literally taught up to the minute we left Le Puy – my last lesson ended at 9:30 on Tuesday morning, and we were on the road within the hour. We drove up to Paris with C’s sister, with whose family we stayed whilst in town, save for one dreamy night with our good friends in the city, who happened to prepare a gorgeous Thai/Indian feast for us to boot. The rest of our visit was spent marveling at how fast our nephews are growing and changing, complete with a Saturday on the rugby pitch. Paris was lovely, but we were off pretty quickly from there…

We arrived in Quito just after 10:00 pm, and for the first time in our lives, someone was waiting at the airport with a big sign with our names on it. The woman with Une Option de Plus (UODP) with whom we’d been working and who had planned to meet us at the airport had come down with food poisoning, so we didn’t get to see her straight away, but were brought to a hostel and settled in for the night. The next day we met with her shortly after breakfast and chatted briefly about things to come; she met us later that night to discuss our plans and where we’d be working in a bit more detail and we went out for a meal.

Unfortunately she got sick again – or maybe hadn’t really recovered from her first bout of sickness, so one of her colleagues accompanied us to Azogues the following afternoon, a journey we were told would take 6-7 hours, but in fact took 9 ½ long ones. But we arrived intact and in reasonably good spirits at around midnight and were greeted at the door of the Casa by its founder, Nancy Calle, about whom I expect I shall write in detail in the upcoming months. She is simply one of the kindest, most unassuming people I have ever met, and at 76 year old, still works 10 hours a day or more, 5-6 days a week from what we can tell. She was accompanied by a couple members of the night staff and took us for a brief tour of the house and our quarters, a 4-bedroom extension of the house where Nancy and the volunteers live, and then the “Community Mother,” or auxiliary in less feel-good terminology, made us – or rather C and E (the representative from UODP) “tortillas,” which here refers to anything roughly patty-shaped and grilled, of egg and pasta.

The following morning, after a long slumber, I decided to get my computer out – I can’t even remember why now – and as I pulled the sleeve from my backpack, my heart sank…it was empty. We gather it got nicked during a bathroom/munchies break when we all got off the bus…so stupid and careless of C and I – something we’ve never done before and will hopefully never do again. At any rate, I am now forced to use C’s computer when he’s not on it, which means typing on a French keyboard, and therefore means it takes me twice as long to get a thought from my brain to the screen. Otherwise I have limited use of a computer they have here, but that’s shared amongst several staff, so I imagine this is going to be interesting. I’m not particularly keen on getting a Spanish-language PC after these precious 3 ½ years with my beloved Macbook Air…we shall see.

Since then, our days have been filled to the brim, trying to find our feet in terms of language, very new, albeit familiar, professional roles, 27 beautiful, exhausting children who loved us completely within seconds of meeting us (and everyone else who comes within 10 feet of this place – a very good sign in my opinion). At this very moment one of them is shouting my name in the distance…which is lovely and incredibly tiring at once…we only have a relatively small bedroom to ourselves, but luckily we discovered that the larger town not far from here is really nice and will hopefully make for some much-needed days away from time to time.

Next up: What it is exactly that we’re doing in this small town in Ecuador…

Hasta pronto…

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8 thoughts on “A (somewhat long) postcard from Azogues…

  1. suncitymom says:

    So good talking to you and knowing that you are both fine and that this new adventure has begun. Your challenges sound almost overwhelming but I know this is where your heart and soul are and you will do wonderful things there to make a difference. The computer situation needs solving asap so will be waiting for an update. Love you, am proud of what the two of you are doing in the small town in Ecuador!

  2. Glad you made it there safe and sound. I can’t wait to hear about what exactly you’re doing there and all of your great adventures! =)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good to hear you are settling down! Pleins de bonnes choses sont à venir! Hasta la proxima vez… Arnaud B

    • Ann says:

      what an amazing thing it was to run into you in paris…couldn’t have asked for a nicer surprise. hasta mucho mas pronto, ojala.

  4. t.dot says:

    awww there you are! so glad you arrived safely – if a little weary and worn from looooong bouts of travel lol. you’re my hero! write when you can, but live in the moment and completely enjoy it all amazing one! usted es simplemente maravilloso . el mundo necesita más de ti! con amor …me xo

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