On Sunday I took the bus in Quito from Terminal Terrestre to Bahia de Caraquez. I was very sad to leave a new-found friend behind (next stop Colombia?) but the beautiful views of the journey helped to lift my spirits. If you ever make the same trek be sure to sit on the right side of the bus. The scenery is honestly breathtaking.
I was welcomed to Bahia by Vladir, the leader of the Genesis Volunteer Program and Kelsey, my American cohort from UofM. Bahia is a tiny town, but its charm is undeniable. It´s had a run of bad luck being hit by a Tsunami and then a Hurricane within a year or two of one another (about a decade ago) and the town is, unfortunately, dying. The population has dwindled down to a mere 12,000 personas, but if you´re looking for a quaint town on the coast to experience true Ecuadorian culture then you´ll find nowhere better.
At the Volunteer House I met my two other housemates: Paul, an Irish bloke with lots of stories and travel adventures, and Kathy, a Canadian science teacher who just celebrated half a century. The house is quirky. There´s the random creepy crawly about, the shower head attacks an there is a ghostly woman who comes to clean occasionally. There´s also not a lick of privacy- everyone can hear everything. As I step onto the sidewalk out the door, however, I can see the estuary to my right and the Pacific Ocean to my left and the world somehow makes sense again.
I just finished my first week of teaching and next week I will be entirely on my own. The task is daunting, but I feel up to the challenge. Getting to Genesis School requires a twenty miute bus ride to and from, which is where I teach Monday-Wednesday. On Thursday & Friday I take a longer bus out to the countryside where after we get off the bus we walk up and down an almost 4 km dirt road with some rather steep inclines before arriving at Primero Octobre. It´s a public school for children are farmers and my heart bleeds in excess for those children that are so sweet and beautiful and polite and don´t have a thing in the world.
I take Spanish classes everyday and my teacher speaks no English, so you can imagine the difficulty we face in communicating. Hopefully I´ll be able to upload pictures this weekend. The internet here is very sketchy and I´m never quite sure when I´ll catch it at a good time! Until then, however, I am Tia Raquel.