Saturday, June 1, 2013

Just for the Girls

Thursday evening was an extremely rewarding experience for those of us involved with and interested in women's programs here in Ecuador. I always enjoy Lucy's zumba class, but this week was extra special. We moved our hips to Spanish hits in a room packed almost to capacity with Ecuadorian women and our American volunteers. Summer intern Jeanine did an incredible job taking on three songs towards the end of class, showing off her natural dancing abilities and an enthusiastic smile.

After class we had planned a Women Only health charla to talk about children's nutrition, and then segway into an idea we've had to start a bi-monthly women's club to establish more personal relationships with our female community members and talk about the type of things that come up when there aren't any men around! We were nervous about the charla, since we were trying out a new time and idea, and we weren't sure how many people would show up. Our nerves were soon eased as we walked into the Preventative Health Center to a group of 11 smiling women, eager to talk about nutrition, and try whatever strange American dish we had cooked up this time.

We discussed why children's nutrition is important, and ways to reinforce healthy eating habits while kid's are still young. The women had a lot of thoughtful feedback and asked some great questions. Teaching nutrition in a different culture is always an interesting challenge. Although the chalra went well, the women were mostly just confused by our broccoli and cheese served with cabbage in pineapple sauce, and I'm not sure they will be serving it up to their kid's anytime soon. They ate it politely and some said they enjoyed it... and we learned that Ecuadorians have myths about mixing salty and sweet.

After eating, Jenni stood up to introduce our idea of a "girls only club" which the women laughed at, but seemed generally interested in. They came up with several topics they would like to discuss at future meetings, such as how to talk about sex with their children, and how to get along with their teenagers. A library neighbor and women's exercise participant Ximena also requested a club field trip, which sounds like a lot of fun... especially when we tell the boys they aren't allowed to go!

Summer intern Jeanine leading the zumba class 

PD Janine leading the charla on children's nutrition 

Enjoying their vegetables

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