We were all excited to work again (March 13) with the children at ISPED Manuela Canizares elementary school in Quito. Today’s groups consisted of fourth, fifth and sixth grade students, as well as one group of cute four-year-olds! Our group is really hitting its stride now. Our Spanish is improving and the children all know us by name. The children are very creative and so sweet. We are starting to feel sad to leave have to leave in two days.
In our individual groups, we asked the children create wishes that they turned into a wish chain and strung it around their classroom. We also made journals, created tissue paper fish, necklaces and silly spectacles out of paper!
While the students were hard at work, I had the pleasure to visit a store that sells many different kinds of tamale’s, where I participated in a tamale tasting! There were chicken, plantain and pork, corn, cheese, leche and vanilla tamales! Delicioso! Tamale’s are corn bread batter filled with either meat or cheese, rolled in a corn husk or banana leaf and then steamed on a stovetop till the cornbread batter is cooked. We selected 2 types off tamale’s to serve at tomorrow’s farewell party at the school.
Once we returned back to the hostel, we had a local professor from Catholic University give us a lecture about the sociopolitical climate and history of Ecuador. There are 13 indigenous groups living in Ecuador. One group has never been contacted by modern humans. How strange it is to think about human beings living totally separate from modern society. Ecuador is rich in oil and is considered an oil ” hot spot.” This means there is a lot of oil under the rain forest floor. Since 1960, oil companies from the United States and Canada have been drilling in the amazon river basin, located in central Ecuador. These drilling practices have unfortunately caused some damage to the rainforest due to the leaching of oil into the ground, which has contaminated parts of the amazon tributaries, river, forest, plants and animals. This contamination has motivated people from all over Ecuador and the world to educate individuals about ecology, sustainability and saving the environment from pollutants.
After the lecture, we broke into small groups to explore some art shows, city markets, old town historical district and a cultural center.
Tomorrow is our last day and we will have a tamale lunch with the teachers and staff at the school. We have been enriched by our work with the children and also our education about Ecuador and the warm welcome given to us from the people.