El Jardin de infantes

So I’ve been having an amazing time in Quito. I got very sunburnt after only 2 days at the beach (I did put loads of cream on I promise!). The beach wasn’t what I imagined, it was very long, grey almost black sand (I guess from all the volcanoes) with silvery green water and bright cloudy skies. The road next to the beach is full of nice bars and restaurants, but behind that road the Atacamas is a different story. We could see that it was a very run down area, with crumbling walls, some with no doors, very small cramped living spaces and green murky water in the river that splits the town, with at least one stray dog on each corner. It was nice to get to know the other volunteers better but I was glad to be back in Quito.

I started my project at the kindergarten yesterday, I’m already tired but loving it! I am in a classroom of toddlers about 2/3 helping out two staff. They are all adorable, although some are fascinated by my glasses and appear to find it hilarious when they hit me on the head with plastic toys. I mostly help get the children seated for breakfast, lunch and dinner, brush their teeth, get them changed for nap time and play with them. The only thing I’ve struggled with is meal times, the children are made to eat everything on their plates, which are quite large portions for 2 year olds. They do kick up a fuss and some cry when they’re full, but are still force fed even when they’re still chewing the previous mouthful. Today one of the girls in my class actually threw up over the table because she had eaten so much 😦 Its also a matter of speed, to keep things flowing they try to speed up meals which doesn’t really help. It does mean that the parents don’t have to feed them when they get home but I do find it difficult to watch.

On the way back to Monika’s house from the project today me and Emily got split up :/ It was a stressful experience! Basically while I was paying to get through the barriers at the stop, Emily had already managed to get on the bus, which I missed. It was scary because although I got on the right bus back I couldn’t be certain that Emily hadn’t gotten off the next stop and headed back for me as she can’t receive or send texts on her phone here. When I got off the bus I rang Monika on three different numbers she had given me, two were invalid and one did pick up but I couldn’t hear anyway. So I thought the best thing would be top walk back to Monika’s which was lucky as that was where Emily was! 🙂 I wasn’t worried about being on my own but more so that Emily may have been deserted if she had decided to head back with no way on contacting anyone.

One of the volunteers called Chloe went back to Boston last night, apart from Emily, she was the I felt most at ease with. To celebrate her last night Chloe and I went to plaza and then we watched bridesmaids with Emily. At dinner, Monika told us about a volunteer who died last year when she was climbing a mountain and its been said that people still see her in the spanish school at night, her classroom light being on. Guess who was here teacher? Mercedes! I’m glad that I’ve finished spanish now because although I don’t believe it, its still scary that its the same room where I was taught! No wonder Monika worries about us all, she has been through a lot. We were all very jumpy last night so Bridesmaids was a good distraction! 🙂

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