Semana seis: empuja chenchita empuja!

A week of ups and downs here in the mountains. The students are all absolutely lovely, and everyday I have a little squirming body in my lap while I am drawing for three others. What surprises me most nowdays is who is going to reach out to me. Last week Cyntia was costantly hovering around, getting yelled at because she had not finished her work. Vanessa constantly follows me around during recess. However, Samira has lately been by my side at every opportunity she has. She excitedly talks to me nonstop, which means there is very little clarity in prounciation. However, she doesn’t seem to mind that I only understand half of what she is saying. I think she is just glad someone will pay attention to her. On Wednesday all of the children had left with the teacher for physical education, I was monitoring the classroom when Samira came in late to school. When I told her where all the others were she told me she didn’t want to go running and sat at my table and took out her coloring supplies. She talked about everything, her family, the party last night, the homework, how she wants to go to Quito to visit her brother, anything she thought of. I listened and asked her questions when I didn’t understand, and those questions only caused her to speak faster, which in turn led to more questions. She mentioned that her family had made chicha for the party, a traditional drink which is made from a variety of leaves and sugar. She took out a bottle and immediately insisted it was mine. I took it and the next day returned it with some lemonade. She was extremely surprised but then went around sharing it with anyone who wanted some. Afterwards she gave me half of her gum and ran. This week we played a lot of Bingo, except instead of five in a row being the winner, they like to play until the entire board is filled. Which, I think is better because it gets them exposed to a larger English vocabulary. Romel is improving daily and will answer questions I am giving to the older kids. They have taken to asking for his help with English homework, which I’m sure makes him feel very smart.

When I came back from the village last Sunday I immediately went to check on the pig who has been pregnant for the entire time I have been here, and was due any day. I climbed up to where she is kept and found she already had two piglets! I ran to find my sister as my prents had not yet returned. Together we helped the chenchita give birth to eight adorable babies. Mom was exhausted and would not push hard enough so we had to forcibly push on her abdomen to supplement her effort. Nachi said that if we had not arrived they would have died. We worked for an hour and when she started to deliver the placenta we eased up and focused on cutting umbilical cords. About ten minutes later she delivered one other, he was already dead. A shame since he was the biggest and would have sold for a greater price. All the others are doing just fine now and explore everything and anything. Mami is a great mother and will defend her babies from anyone and anything, except when you distract her with food. On a down for the week, the dogs have disappeared. First, Pelito did not return after chasing an animal, and then the next day Loba and Bobi also did not return. The family thinks they chased an animal into its den and got stuck. I tried to find them but their property is vast and its been days. I am heartbroken by this but the family has accepted this as part of their life here. Apparently other dogs have disappeared like this also.

Another up, this week I learned how to make quimbolitos, essentially cake cooked in banana leaves. They were absolutely delicious and I am pretty sure I ate six.

One of the best parts about coming into the town on Sundays, besides emailing my family, is seeing my students. When they recognize me they smile and immediately point me out to any family they are with. They are incredibly shy and when I ask how they are, they will say bueno and then run away so I don’t ask the any more questions. It’s cute.

Well I am getting kicked out of the internet cafe so hasta luego, que le vaya muy bien!

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