Food Security, Moving In, and a Big Change

Once again, its been a few weeks. November FLEW by. I feel like I was barely in site all month!

First the food security conference. I really enjoyed myself. The staff did an awesome job; the presentations were interesting, hands on, and helpful. It was also nice to meet the agriculture group who arrived a few months before us. I think a got a few program ideas out of it, but will see. I currently have an experimental garden and its not going super well… I am having trouble finding appropriate soil. A lot of the “dirt” in my site is real just rocks, clay, or sand. Since Peace Corps discourages night buses, Erin and I decided to leave Thursday morning instead of Wednesday afternoon/night. That meant we had the afternoon free, so I went to Quito for bagels and Indian food… two things I have been seriously missing since I left the States. There was a pretty big group of us at the restaurant, it was a nice, relaxing afternoon. Once again, it was sad to say goodbye to everyone knowing I won’t see a lot of them for awhile.

During the food security conference, I had the chance to talk to my program manager about Nelly. No need to go into details, but things were definitely not getting any better. She tried to call Nelly after we spoke, and left her a voicemail, but while I was there for the conference Nelly never called her back. Monday morning I went to the Centro de Salud and Nelly was there. I texted my PM to see if she had got in touch with her, and my PM proceeded to call her in that moment. Nelly walked away to take the call. After she hung up, my PM called me. She said that after talking to Nelly for a few minutes, she explained that I was going to be working in projects with other organizations, but I could still be around to support the committee. Nelly said that if I was going to be working with her every day then she didn’t want to be my counterpart any longer. I am know working on locating a new counterpart and will have to send some project proposals/schedule to my PM. It’s a relief on one hand, on the other hand I’m a little nervous about being such a free agent. I have some ideas in place though… I just need to work on implementing them in the community.

I also moved into my house this week, which is really exciting. The best part so far has been cooking for myself… for a couple of reasons. I don’t have to feel bad about not eating a lot if I am not hungry, because my host mom is not cooking it. I can choose what I eat. And, the most fun, each time I cooked something this week, I brought a little bit around to the houses in the family compound so that everyone could try it. It was fun to see their reactions… they liked pretty much everything. Plus, it showed them that they don’t have to worry so much: I can actually make food for myself. This weeks menu included apple honey walnut pancakes, tangy chicken and mashed potatoes, and veggie chicken curry. YUM.

That’s about it I guess. This weekend a 3rd year volunteer is coming to teach the women in my community some crafts with recycled materials, so that should be a lot of fun!

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