Thursday, August 3, 2006

B.K. There's only so much a man can do on an international keyboard

It´s been 3 days since I´ve arrived in the city of Quito, Ecuador, and honestly I´ve been pretty nervous about it. My host-mother says that if I´m not careful I´ll get robbed in the streets, my program director says that if I´m not careful I´ll get robbed on the bus, and my program director´s wife says that if I´m not careful I´ll get robbed at the school. So essentially the biggest thing to worry about at this point is pirates, which is something I´m perfectly fine with.

Learning spanish has been challenging and fun, but rather than talk about boring things like that, let me start off this blog with some facts that will totally make you want to come to Ecuador too!

- A good sum of 5 liters of water...which has to be enough for AT LEAST 2 days, can be bought for .75 cents. Do you remember the last thing you ever bought for less than a dollar? Was it from a candy machine in a grocery store? That´s right, you should come to Ecuador!

- Clothing is pretty much next to free. Leather jackets and belts and bags and socks from local artisans go for cheap, and are relatively child-labor free! When I find out that this isn´t true though, I´ll be sure to mark it from the list.

- There´s a great deal of poverty and homelessness (at least 60% by the last rumors I heard) within the city of Quito alone, and no one has the power or time to help. Like the States, there´s a fraction of the population that has all of the wealth, and the rest are left to struggle through life.

The latest change in my life has to do with giving money to people on the streets. It´s stupid. It´s dangerous. And I want to do more of it. I don´t have much of an issue with the whole "you can´t trust them because they´ll just use it to go get drugs and liquor" argument; that action of theirs isn´t really up to me, and to ask them "are you going to go get drunk with this money" is outright silly to ask. My only dilemma with the act is the fact that if I do it, people might take me for a walking bank, and more of that whole pirates-in-Ecuador thing may be sure to happen...which might not actually be as fun as it sounds.

Tact would be a wonderful thing to have. Unfortunately it´s one of those few things I can´t get for cheap around here.

On a more somber note, if you actually took the time to read this, thank you. You are one of those few people that I really miss and can´t wait to see again. I hope you´re having a great time in the States and that you feel loved and happy. May everyone you meet leave your company feeling a little better about life.