A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ecuador Part II: The First Day in Ecuador

It was in the Houston airport I met up with my good friend Diana from college and her friend Betsy. Diana and I shared long hugs and big smiles as we reunited for the first time in more than 3 years. It seemed fitting to have that reunion at an airport in Texas because the last time I had seen Diana was when I dropped her off at an airport in Texas. It seems we'd come full circle.

We were going to Ecuador to spend time with our friend Jen who works (practically runs) an orphanage in Quito. Do you know those friends who always push you into wild adventures? Who support all the crazy ideas you come up with? Who make you laugh so hard you almost pee your pants? Who have such kind hearts they inspire you to be a better person? That is Jen and Diana to me. With this transitional and unknown current phase of life I am in, the idea of spending time in another country with these two incredible friends has brought me such comfort, excitement and peace.

So here we are in Ecuador, at one of the best run orphanages I have ever seen, thoroughly enjoying life as we love on other people and explore a new place and culture together. Jen has been a knowledgeable guide as she prepped us on cultural importance's (greetings, kissing the cheek) and the running of the orphanage. She has kept us busy this first day. We've been feeding babies, Diana and Betsy swam in the therapy pool with some of the kids, we ate Ecuadorian food, navigated the city buses, visited the equator and had a cooking class with the toddlers.

Jen had seen my pictures of the equator in Uganda and had commented on how small and insignificant it was. I couldn't imagine there being much more to an equator than the sign we have in Uganda so didn't understand her scorn. Well, let me tell you, Ecuador has got some major tourism going on with their equator! They have two equator designations, one pre-GPS and one post-GPS. They are only 200 meters apart which is pretty impressive if you ask me. The pre-GPS designated equator has a giant monument with the world at the top.

Another interesting thing was The post-GPS had different science stations showing the effects of the equator. It was fascinating! They showed us how water going down a drain doesn't swirl on the equator but if you drain it a little bit South or North it will swirl, either clockwise or counterclockwise. Another interesting thing was balancing an egg on a nail. Because of the pull of gravity, the yoke sits at the bottom of the egg. It took some concentration but I managed to get it to balance.

In the evening we did a cooking class with the toddlers making waffles. Of course to make it more fun, Jen had them add blue food coloring. This was probably one of my favorite memories from the day. Watching Jen be completely in action was awe inspiring. Her love for these kids is evident and her dedication to fostering their development is admirable. Jen has an extremely jubilant personality and all those around are infected with this spirit. She makes life fun.

Our adventures in Ecuador are off to a fantastic start!

Feeding the babies
Betsy with Mateo in the therapy pool
Me, Betsy and Diana at the real equator
Friends at the equator! (only 200 m from the exact equator)

Jen in her element cooking with the toddlers


  1. ohhhh I miss you grils so much!!!

  2. This is awesome! I'm so happy for you! Love you.