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The Kirwan Twins Adventures We've finally graduated, so we're setting off for three months to backpack around India, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand before entering the "real world."

Nelly's Kitchen

ECUADOR | Saturday, 23 Feb 2008 | Views [1290]

Chota, an Afro-Ecuadorian community bordering Columbia in the Northern Highlands, is a vibrant family of well-endowed, generous women, sex-driven men, and playful bands of children with precious smiles coining nicknames; my friend Flaco became " ... Read more >

Tags: Adventures


Child Impressions

ECUADOR | Thursday, 21 Feb 2008 | Views [513]

As I strolled out of the rocódromo lugging my rope and climbing shoes, a hearty little voice chimed " Hola !" through the wire fence.  Clearly not the telling sound of yet another dodgy man, I merrily saluted the little girl and continued on ... Read more >

Tags: People


Marching to Montecristi

ECUADOR | Thursday, 21 Feb 2008 | Views [757]

I marched up and down the avenue, nervous alone and with a brilliant green sleeping pad tucked under the hood of a flashy daypack reflecting in the night.  It took me three turns around the block to realize that the suspicious group huddled at the corner ... Read more >

Tags: Work


Cleaning My Body

ECUADOR | Wednesday, 30 Jan 2008 | Views [1633]

I apologize in advance, but this will not be a step-by-step description of my shower routine, nor will this be an account of the various raw food cleansings and liquid fasts I have performed.  Also omitted from this segment is my vegan epoca, which climaxed ... Read more >

Tags: Doctors, hospitals & health


El Primer Encuentro de la Red de Canastas Comunitarias de Quito

ECUADOR | Tuesday, 4 Dec 2007 | Views [1786]

La Red de Canastas Comunitarias de Quito is part of a unique movement surging across urban settings in Ecuador.  "La Canasta" translates as basket, in this sense, a food basket.  The "Canastas" are groups of families, ranging from ... Read more >

Tags: Work


Ecuador vs. Peru

ECUADOR | Saturday, 1 Dec 2007 | Views [525]

The preliminaries for the World Cup are currently underway.  Ecuador has already lost miserably to Venezuela and Brazil.  Today is Ecuador vs. Peru.  For those unaware of the significance of this game, Ecuador and Peru have a heated history of territorial ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


To Climb, or not to Climb

ECUADOR | Saturday, 1 Dec 2007 | Views [906] | Comments [1]

"Are you still coming to Riobamba tomorrow?" "Si, si. We are still coming, but just one question. Is it raining there?" "Well, not really. It's been bright and sunny every day, and rains sometimes in the late afternoon."... Read more >

Tags: Adventures


Agricultural Workshop in Guangopud

ECUADOR | Wednesday, 21 Nov 2007 | Views [807]

Early in the morning, Vicente, Antonio, and I hopped on a bus headed for Guayaquil.  About 45 minutes into our ride, we jumped off by a brick building nestled into the parámo.  The community was gathered in the building, being solicited by politicos, ... Read more >

Tags: Work


Imashutikangi?

ECUADOR | Wednesday, 21 Nov 2007 | Views [694]

Vicente, Antonio, and I gathered in Vicente's house to learn Kichwa.  Our teacher was Victoria, an indigenous woman from Riobamba who worked as a community educator and helped facilitate World Neighbors workshops.  We huddled on a couch facing the eraser ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


Mourning in the Morning, Until the Afternoon

ECUADOR | Wednesday, 21 Nov 2007 | Views [1530]

The phone rang at 3 in the morning and was followed by the incessant howl of sad human beings and a dog.  I willed myself to sleep, cloaking these telling signs with dreams, though a mourning household leaves little peace even for dreaming.  So I rose ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


The Brave Tales of a (Ex) Vegetarian

ECUADOR | Wednesday, 21 Nov 2007 | Views [1284]

After five years dedicated to vegetarianism, or really vegaquarianism but in reality flexitarianism, I hereby confess my newfound carnivorism. Yes folks, its true, I eat meat. I won't be so brazen as to fully embrace the term "carnivore,"... Read more >

Tags: Food & eating


Orienting Fulbright Grantees

ECUADOR | Saturday, 27 Oct 2007 | Views [858]

For some odd reason, the Fulbright Orientation was held nearly two months after the first grantee's arrival in Ecuador.   Therefore, by this time us Fulbrighters had already become well acquainted over various dinner parties and varied attempts at ... Read more >

Tags: The Planning Phase


Thermal Spring Oasis

ECUADOR | Tuesday, 16 Oct 2007 | Views [562]

Ecuadorians enjoy their holidays, and today was Guayaquil's Independence Day.  Well, it was really Wednesday, but why not push it back to make a long weekend?  So my family set off, in our yellow school bus, for Papallacta.  The drive to Papallacta, en ... Read more >

Tags: The Great Outdoors


La Vaqueria: Workshop in an Indigenous, Farming Community

ECUADOR | Tuesday, 16 Oct 2007 | Views [719] | Comments [1]

As previously arranged, we arrived in Colta at 9 am to meet Francisco and Roberto (local community educators and World Neighbors affiliates) for a workshop in the nearby community of La Vaqueria.  With the assistance of World Neighbors colleagues (Sonia ... Read more >

Tags: Work


Socks and Underwear

ECUADOR | Tuesday, 16 Oct 2007 | Views [829] | Comments [2]

On Thursday evening Michelle and I were preparing our bags for our Friday excursion to Papallacta, a thermal spring oasis.  Bathing suit, sweatshirt, shampoo, socks, underwear, etc.  In this particular vocabulary lesson, I learned the difference between ... Read more >

Tags: Laughter


Eating Scrumple

ECUADOR | Thursday, 11 Oct 2007 | Views [812] | Comments [3]

This house specialty this evening is cuy .   Translation: guinea pig.   Tonight I have the pleasure of dining with Vicente and his family.   They've placed me at the head of the table and by now I'm well aware of what to expect.   As I was helping ... Read more >

Tags: Food & eating


Welcome to Riobamba

ECUADOR | Friday, 5 Oct 2007 | Views [480]

According to my taxista, I´ve arrived in the most dangerous barrio of Riobamba.  This minor piece of news does little to abate my throbbing head which has been successfully clouded with carbon emissions from my three-hour bus ride from Quito.... Read more >

Tags: Culture


Fun in the Sun

ECUADOR | Wednesday, 3 Oct 2007 | Views [429] | Comments [2]

On this lovely sunny morning, I joined Juliet and Lisa for a free aerobics class in the park.   While physically this class did not meet my standards, it won for "most entertaining."   In a particular corner of Parque Carolina there ... Read more >

Tags: Laughter


Just Another Local

ECUADOR | Wednesday, 3 Oct 2007 | Views [449] | Comments [2]

On day 19, it's clear that I've really just become another local in barrio San Juan, let alone Quito.   My proudest achievement thus far has been mastering the city's streets and transportation system. Most mornings, I trek down to the EcoVia ... Read more >

Tags: Philosophy of travel


Lucid Dreaming

ECUADOR | Wednesday, 26 Sep 2007 | Views [561] | Comments [1]

That evening, I was on my way home from Timmer Wood and Lauren Alter's wedding.  Yes, I must say I was also quite astonished at the match and their decision to carry out the celebration after only reuniting last week, since third grade.  Nonetheless, ... Read more >

Tags: Adrenaline


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