Thursday, November 24, 2011


Today is special because it is my birthday AND Thanksgiving, although they do not celebrate it here.  I gave out my final exam results on Monday so I am finished with school.  Breana is still going because she is Teacher on Duty this week.  She refuses to punish students so she mainly just sits around and takes care of any issues that come up.  She had a problem with two of her best Form 2 students not going to one of their final exams.  Their black shoes had gotten all wet so they wore other shoes to school and were told to go home because they were not in uniform.  They didn't have other clean shoes so borrowed some from other students.  This was discovered so everyone was going to get punished.  From what Breana has witnessed, punishment at that school ranges from a slap on the hand with a stick to getting severely beaten up.  Breana talked the teachers into not punishing the students but the students didn't know this and were afraid so they hid and missed one of their final exams.  These can't be made up, so they will not go on to Form 3.  These are bright, articulate kids from single parent farmer families and work after school and on weekends to pay school fees.  Their lives are seriously damaged because they wore the wrong shoes to school.

All of a sudden, we have tons of grasshoppers jumping all around.  They are about 3-4 inches long and kelly green in color.  Breana said that at her school all the teachers and students were out catching them.  One of the teachers cooked a batch and brought them to school.  She brought some home for me to taste.  They remove the wings and legs and fry them in butter and salt.  Like anything fried, they tasted like a good snack food.  I killed a couple that had gotten in our house and Poa ate them for me so I did not have to pick them up.  He has been staying outside more because he loves to stalk things and there is plenty of food out there.

We moved to a new house in the compound a couple of days ago since they could not fix the plumbing in the other one.  For the last two weeks we have had the sewage backing up into the shower pan every time we flush the toilet, which only happens a few days a week due to lack of water.  The smell was pretty bad.  In our new house, the septic line runs downhill and Bree has banned toilet paper in the toilet (sounds gross but was standard practice all over Ecuador), so we should not have the same problem.  This is basically her house, her rules, since I am leaving soon.  She will go on holiday in December but return for the next school term.  Our new house is a little bigger, with a separate kitchen and lots of cabinets.  We have our same double hotplate and still no running water, but at least we are getting almost daily deliveries of buckets now.  The water pump in town and the pump in Afriline are both still having problems.

Breana made us a healthy Thanksgiving dinner of scrambled eggs, rice, cooked spinach, sliced tomatoes, and toast.  That was the best and healthiest meal I have had in a long time.

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