Yo! Arrived in Quito after an over night flight, then the 11 of us took a bus down from the Andes (Quito is at 9000 plus ft) into Santo Domingo de las Colorados, a small city in the coastal region (at about 1800 ft).
We spent July 4th through today doing anthropometric measurements of school children to help establish baseline data for Ecuador-accurate growth charts. There is a community-based hospital here that we visited who will use the data in the future for focused nutrition programs. In the evening we have been doing group (from 5-65) nutrition education sessions. It rules because we are merely helping out within a structure that already exists-not just coming in and leaving. We are staying with some doctors and everyone has been so hospitable, even though they make us work so much.
Ecuador is amazing, as most places down here there is such a diversity of things to see and do. I am struggling to put something together for my one weekend off. Mountains and snow? Tropical rain forests? The beach? Some more dancing (some Ecuadorian women helped me with my Marange and Salsa last night) Indigenous markets? Arts, crafts, and museums? Or I will probably just hang out and eat. The food (we have had 2 women cook for us since we have been here, it is as great as it is ridiculous) is outstanding, even though hot sauce is hard to come by. Lots of plantains, potatoes, quinoa, and tropical juices. yum yum.
I just received a bunch of emails from friends, and I appreciate it more now than ever. When you are in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people (and planning to do the same for two more months) you cant explain how important kind words from someone you care about are. You know I am thinking about all of you as well.
I will write more soon, but I am on a $3 a day budget and I just spent most of it on the internet. peace.