28 February 2008

Times are a changin´

Hello All.

Exciting changes are coming to Ecuador…well at least for me they are. I had mentioned before about struggling with aggressive men in my town and also dealing with an inappropriate man I have to work with in my community. To an extent these are "normal" things that all my friends are dealing with, but I finally realized that it was affecting my entire experience and that they don't have to right to make me feel violated. So I finally talked to Peace Corps and for my personal well being they are changing my site and I feel really good about it.

Monday I took a day trip to my prospective new site (we are just waiting on the Nun's approval), Mindo. It is a small touristy town located 2hrs from Quito located in the transitional zone or cloud forest, which means that it's between the coast and the mountains. When I saw it I was speechless, it is absolutely gorgeous with lush green mountains, waterfalls, is one of the top bird watching sites in South America, and has all sorts of creatures and plants (even an orchid garden). Anyways, they have a catholic school for the orphan/low-income kids that otherwise wouldn't have access to school. The students are on vacation until April, but I was able to tour the school. It was crazy with dorm rooms with about 30 beds and a summer camp-ish mess hall for meals. I never thought I would be working at a Catholic boarding school in Ecuador. Haha. They have been asking for a health volunteer for some time because the girls are really lacking health care and attention. So my job with consist of teaching the girls the basics of how to care for yourself (hygiene, nutrition, changes in the body, etc), working with the cooks to create more nutritious meals, and they receive a grant last year for a bakery but no one has done anything with it so I will be working with teaching the girls how to bake with hopes of creating jobs for the girls as well as make an income by selling to the tourist that pass through. I am so excited and feel like this is where I need to be. So I will keep you posted on if the Nun gives us the go ahead. If so I will probably be moving next week.

Thanks again for all your love and support.

Much love to you always.

p.s. this means my new address will be:
Alicia O´Dell
Cuerpo de Paz
Casilla 17-08-8624
Quito, Ecuador
South America
and here are some pics I found of Mindo.

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