Duke Spring Break 2013

 Hello again from the Duke Manna Spring Break Group! The past two days have been eventful. Let’s catch you up.
            On Wednesday, some of the group went out to breakfast in Sangolqui. They had some scrambled eggs, fruit, blackberry juice, and coffee. Afterwards, all of the group reunited, and we went to un hipermercado y una paperleria (a supermarket and a paper goods store) with Janine to look for a bulletin board, a filing cabinet, and a scale. Some of us bought some Ecuadorian chocolates and sweets – the winner for purchases was Jim who purchased a GIANT green lollipop and a Star Wars mask. Afterwards, some of the group went out to get what the Program Directors call “Dirty Burgers” – basically double cheeseburgers and French fries. After lunch, we went out and advertised around Rumiloma, handing out fliers and talking to locals. Most of us were lucky enough to taste pan de chocolate or chocolate bread – it was delicious.  Afterwards, we hung out in the Manna Center and library and played with local children throughout the afternoon. Some of us played UNO, some played Frisbee outside, and some played board games and video games with the children. At 6 PM, the Program Directors began teaching English classes. Most of the group sat in on Janine’s super advanced English class for adults. I sat in on Joey’s intermediate English class for adults, where Joey and the students read through a passage about Roman Catholicism, a topic very familiar to the students (Ecuador is super Catholic). Joey would correct their pronunciation and translate the English sentences into Spanish so the students could grasp the meaning of the English words better. They would also engage in small discussions, where Joey would ask a question about the topic in English and ask the students to give their opinion in English. After the English class, we went into Quito and tasted some awesome Ecuadorian cuisine at La Clorinda. After a delicious meal, we went into Quito to a salsa club. A few of us worked up the courage to try salsaing on the dance floor – I for one tried, but how well I salsaed is up for debate. Others were content watching some of the natives pull off some fancy salsa moves. After an hour or so, we went over to a traditional club and danced until about midnight before we headed back and passed out.

            Today, we woke up around 9 AM and ate the fluffiest pancakes ever – compliments to chef Janine. Afterwards, we broke up into two groups and went to gather information from local organizations for our Preventative Health manual. My group, led by Jenni, spent about a half hour trying to find the organization Ninos con Destinos. However, once we found the foundation, the manager of the location and Jenni had a nice discussion, and our encounter turned out to be positive. Janine’s group went to a clinic, but there were no doctors available to get information from. However, the group toured the clinic and a school nearby, gaining exposure to healthcare and education. Afterwards, we split up – a group went to a local market to sample some delectable Ecuadorian fruits and food. Another group went with Country Director, Heather, to help Ecuadorian children with homework and play with them in an organization called Amigos Guias. Afterwards, Heather’s group advertised in Rumiloma for the charla. After reuniting at the Manna House, we went to work on planning our charla, hammering out the details. At 8 PM, we went out for dinner at a local restaurant, enjoying pescadopollo, carne, y pizza for dinner. Now we are resting up for tomorrow. We will head into Quito in the morning to spend time at the Basilica and do a group discussion.

            No puedo esperar. Hasta luego!  - I cannot wait. Until next time.

- Abhi and the Duke Manna Group


Tuesday March 12th, 2013

       The nine of us arrived in Ecuador around 10:00 PM on Sunday night. Manna Project Directors Janine and Pete were there to welcome us and take us back to the Manna House in Sangolqui. After arriving promptly at the Manna House, we ate some delicious pasta, salad, and homemade sauce that the Project Directors had made. Afterwards, we were situated in our respective spots in the three-building complex, the girls staying in the main house and the boys taking over the “Man-Cave.” Some of us stayed up to talk with the project directors, but most of us were tired and went to bed.
            On Monday morning, the nine of us rose at around 9 AM. We had breakfast, which consisted of delicious milk, yogurt, granola, and fruit. During breakfast, Janine and Jenni, our Preventative Health project directors, and Heather, our country director, laid down some housekeeping rules. Shortly after being oriented, the Project Directors, our group, and another Manna spring break group from the University of Georgia hopped on a bus to a hiking destination known as Molinuco. It was clear that most of us were still adjusting to the 8000 feet altitude. However, the trip’s highlights were petting horses, jumping down a waterfall (no big deal), and taking pictures of Ecuador’s beautiful natural landscape. Even though most of us were soaked by the end of the trail, we all had fun. After we came back, our group went with a couple of Project Directors to eat helados or ice cream. Many of us tried different flavors unique to Ecuador like babaco y taxa, but most of us could not resist mora (blackberry). When we came back, we had a dinner of bean and beef tortillas with cheese, peppers, and guacamole. Then, we settled down on the rooftop of the main house to enjoy a few rounds of Catchphrase. After fun conversation and competition that lasted fairly late into the night, we retired to our beds.

            On Thursday morning at 7:30 AM, three of us were fortunate enough to accompany Project Directors Jenni and Polly to a middle school where both teach a nutrition class to ten and eleven year olds. It was interesting to watch our Project Directors teach students in fluent Spanish and to watch the children learn about processed grains, natural grains, essential nutrients, and the various food groups. I personally had fun sitting next to the students in their tiny desks and practicing my Spanish with them. At the end of each class, it was fun to watch Polly and Jenni get bombarded by tons of abrazos (hugs) – we got our fair share too. While the three of us were at the school, the rest of the group back at the House woke up at nine and got to work on planning our charlas on Friday. One charla is going to be a lesson held at the Manna Center (located in a different area called Rumiloma), where we will teach adults and children about how they can prevent diseases through yoga and circuit exercises. Our group will have to lead the charla in Spanish, which will be an interesting challenge. After planning the charla, the group went to work on creating fliers and advertisements for the charlas. After reuniting and eating lunch and some delicious frozen yogurt, we went into the streets of Sangolqui to hand out fliers to people in the streets and to inform them about our upcoming charlas. Many of us had a great time interacting with the native Ecuadorians and practicing our Spanish. Afterwards, most of us spent the remainder of the day in the Manna House, spending time with the Project Directors and cooking dinner.

            In summary, so far, so good. We will post again on Thursday! Hasta luego! 

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