countin' the days

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The End

For my last couple weeks of volunteering, I was unexpectedly joined by Lauren. I´d been dabbling in a variety of projects in the area, as usual, but when Lauren showed up I thought it would be best to use her experience teaching English as a second language however we could. We traveled about an hour together to a nearby elementary school, where we taught English to 4 different classes in 4 hours. It was a whilrwild experience. Some classrooms even had two different age groups together, because there just isn´t enough space or enough teachers to take care of everyone. We left feeling exhausted and overworked, but definitely had some fun -- especially teaching "Head Shoulders Knees & Toes" to giggling groups of young´uns. Aside from the teaching gig, I continued to work at Runa Tupari translating new website material from Spanish to English and selling tours, and helped my family do some gardening and planting at home.

After 4 1/2 weeks that absolutely flew by, it was time to say goodbye. For my last night, I decided to buy a couple of little presents. The first was a purple potato peeler for Maria; one day while cooking lunch together she mentioned not having one and needing to buy one (as I was struggling like an idiot to peel the potatoes with a dull knife). The second was a large, delicious chocolate cake from my favorite cafe in Otavalo, where I would begin every day with a slice of cake and (real!) coffee for $1. Not surprisingly, little Sayani was extremely excited and quite literally couldn´t keep her hands off of it. We all had a great last night together, taking tons of photos and even looking through old family photos. It was a bittersweet goodbye -- it felt like the right time to be moving on, but the experience had been so great that I was a little sad too.

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