So Jenni really took this to heart...
Full Name: Jenni Nicole Adams
Home Town: Denver, Colorado
College and Major: Clark University, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
|Jenni in the middle with Lucy and Madeleine|
1. What programs do you run?
Children's English (I teach Advanced), Children's Nutrition, Preventative Health Center (this includes teaching Nutrition for the Sangolqui Association for Diabetes and Hypertension), Teen Center, and Women's Exercise (I teach Yoga).
2. If you had to pick one, which is your favorite and why?
This question is too difficult! I love all of the programs, but especially the health related programs. Kids nutrition is taught at a nearby public school and while teaching over 100 6th graders is challenging it is the most rewarding of all my programs. Teaching yoga is amazing because of the dedicated students that come to every class and I can immediately see how the class has impacted them by their relaxed, smiling, faces after practicing. Lastly, PHC is an incredible program because it is extremely broad and has so much potential. I am able to shadow Doctors through this program and help elderly women with Diabetes learn about nutrition. It gives me incredible opportunities to see public health in action.
3. How did you hear about Manna and what made you want to join?
My sophomore year of college I wanted to spend a couple months out of my summer volunteering in South America in order to learn more about public and international health as well as improve my Spanish. Over winter break I was out to lunch with my best friend and her family and was telling them about my hopes of finding this sort of opportunity. Lucky for me, a former Ecuador PD, Abbie Foust, was there and told me all about Manna. I applied to be a summer volunteer in Ecuador, and after my summer experience could not wait to apply to be a PD!
4. Is there something from your experience so far that has caught you off guard?
I never thought I would be growing so much personally through this experience. From feeling like a stranger in a place that is my home to learning how to live and work with a group of people I didn't know before coming here, I have learned so much about courage, communication, compassion, and other very important life skills I never expected to learn.
5. What's your favorite place in Sangolquî?
There is a park across from the Sangolqui hospital and at the far left part of the park is a Pine Tree grove and a little dirt path. Whenever I walk through it reminds me of home. That place and of course the Sangolqui center (with an ice cream cone in hand).
6. What is your favorite meal to cook for dinner?
Anything delicious and vegetarian. If it has beans, chickpeas, quinoa, lentils, or veggies and a lot of spices, I love it.
7. Who's your favorite band?
I can not possibly name a single group. I like almost all kinds of music (minus Country) and have a soft spot for female vocalists. Some consistent favorites are Iron and Wine, Sufjan Stevens, Grimes, and Rilo Kiley. Also while living here I have developed an embarrassing love for Reggaeton, especially Daddy Yankee.
8. What it your most cherished experience so far with our neighbor Cesâr?
One day Janine and I were going to a nearby health center and Cesar offered us a ride. The trip lasted about 2 hours and included us visiting a nearby military base and getting to see helicopters take off and land about 20 feet away. It was actually pretty cool.
9. Tell us how your really feel about our cat Gandalf?
I love him so much. I really, really, do. Its just so hard to love him though since he is a cat and doesn't care about my existence! It is SUCH a one-sided relationship. Also I do find him extremely annoying when he non-stop meow's at me until I feed him. I am also very bitter that he refuses sleep in my bed. Maybe this is too much information?
10. What do you think is the best thing you will take away from your experience with Manna?
As I mentioned before, I have learned so much about who I am as a person and grown from this experience. I have also gained an a perspective on life I never knew before - something that I think naturally happens from living in a new culture and in a new country. I feel like the one thing I will take away (and hope to take away) from Manna and be able to use the rest of my life is a greater sense of empathy and trying to fully understand the experiences of other people.
11. What impact do you hope to leave on Manna?
I hope my students have learned something - whether it is how to conjugate "to-be" in the past tense or what a whole grain is - and I hope that someday that knowledge may help them. I hope that I somehow helped someone by being a resource a friend, or just a "profe". Overall, I hope that by me being here I have helped improved a community member's life, even if it is in a small way and only for a few people.
12. Do you think the recent re-election of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is a good thing for the country? Do you think he is just another example of the long tradition of machismo, political bosses that have ran South America over the last century? Will he step down after this six-year term like he says he claims he will?
This interview is full of hard questions! I think Correa's re-election can possibly be a good thing for the country. I think he has brought the stability that Ecuador needed for its current increased economic growth and quality of life. I support how much he spends on social programs, and how it now costs less to receive medical care or go to college. However, I do have some large concerns, especially considering his changing of the constitution and almost complete political control. I hope the assembly disagrees with him more so that he will not be able to take another term (because I think he will try to). I also worry about to expanding Oil industry in Ecuador and his support of this industry. I am worried it will be done in a way in which the poorer communities where oil is obtained will be exploited and suffer the consequences (as what happened with the Chevron lawsuit) while the capital and richer communities will reap the rewards. Just a couple thoughts....
13. Why do you think no one replied to our request for questions to ask you?
Because no one reads the blog. Just kidding Pete and Jeff! I read it!