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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Who knew Senior year was this stressful!

I have nearly had no time to myself this past week, and am sure that more is yet to come.

On top of my classes and planning for Ecuador, as I said before, I am on the board of the Mimes and Mummers. Our show goes up on Thursday and things have been absolutely ridiculousl crazy! Who knew it would get like this. Although I thought that design the poster would be the hard part, that has proved far from true. From running around to get the programs printed, getting the headshots taken, finishing the program, I have been absolutely non-stop on my feet. BUT it should be a good show, so everyone out there best stop by Collins Thursday-Sunday to see this crazy amazing show! (PLUS Thursday is FREE for Fordham students!).

Anyone is invited to come see our show! It is held in Collins Auditorium on the Fordham University Rose Hill campus. Tickets are $10 for non-students and guests!


Here it is... of course, just a little publicity stunt, but it is just another thing I have been working on during this Ecuador process and thankfully will be over before I go on our trip and can think for a few days before I leave!

And the countdown is on....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ecuadorian Politics

When Elise, from RdC, came to speak with us, we asked her about the political situation that is happening in Ecuador, and she said one word: CORRUPT.

She went on to tell us about a woman who was the previous president or govern of the area, and was very well renowned in the area for all the work she had done, including thinking to put water pipes underground so that some day they would be able to have running water to the villages. And although she was loved by the people, we was eventually found to be embezzling money, which is very common in Ecuadorian politics. People still loved her after this since she hadn't nearly embezzled as much as other previous people. After she left, her son succeeded her and has also embezzled a lot. Some how I cannot find anything about this on the Internet, so it is proving difficult to tell this story from memory. Eventually I will find it and update.


After just looking through the previous and current presidents of Ecuador, atleast two of the presidents that I have come across so far were arrested on charges of embezzlement, of nearly millions of dollars! Abdala Bacaram was only president of Ecuador for 6 months after all his previous supporters turned on him and protested until congress dismissed him, and within the first 2 months he was found to be embezzling millions of dollars and was succeeded by the first female president of Ecuador, the previous vice President, Rosalia Arteaga, who was only in office for 2 days. Not only did Bacaram embezzle but he came into the presidency after the previous vice President, Alberto Dahik was found (3 years into the term) to be embezzling and fled to Costa Rica, where he still lives, under political protection status.


Okay... sometimes we think our politics are rough, this is pretty bad!

Monday, February 22, 2010

And the countdown begins...

Only 19 days away and we will be boarding our little (actually BIG) plane to Ecuador, away from technology and American civilization for a WHOLE week.

Our weekend away was actually really great this weekend, and very simple. We stayed in our sweats all day and hung out in the basement of St. Luke's Church on W. 152nd & Amsterdam Ave in the area between Washington Heights and Hamilton Heights (it has another name, which I forget at the moment!). The boyfriend of one of the girls on my team lives in the same area, and so it was very cool to hear the history of what was around us, since I had never heard it before. Apparently, it is a big jazz and music area, and by there is Covenant Ave which is where in the 1920's many of the predominately rich African American population lived and opened jazz clubs and such. Really cool!

Anyways, pretty much our retreat consisted of us all just hanging out in the same room for 40 hours straight, playing games, laughing and talking. We had some great middle eastern food (sooo yummy!) and some pizza as well. It was great to get to know everyone on a different level and really enjoy everyone's company.

The best discussion we had was of religion and what we all believe, and how we were raised. It opened my eyes to a lot of different things and allow me to relate to my team on a different level.


 
our home for the weekend


After this weekend I absolutely feel so much more open and happy with my team!
At last night's meeting we finally learned about our flight plans and so it follows:

Leave LGA @ 12pm on Saturday, March 13
Layover in Miami for 4 hours
Arrive in Guayaquil @ 11pm on Saturday, March 13

Arrive back at LGA @ 10pm on Saturday, March 20

I cannot wait, plus I weirdly like flying (and especially being in airports)... so pumped!

Adios!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The end of February!

I cannot even begin to say how fast February flew by. It is crazy to think that just a week from today is the last day of the months, eeek! So much to do! We leave in 3 weeks, which is absolutely unreal. I apologize in advance for the random topic here but this is what is on my mind.

While I am not planning for Ecuador and writing in this blog, I am also on the board of our theater club on campus, The Mimes & Mummers. Next Thursday is the opening night of Into the Woods, my last show with the board. :( It is slightly bitter sweet, but I am so ready to be done with the craziness that 2nd semester of my senior year has been. I love working with the Mimes and the shows we produce, but at the same time, holy stressful!

For this show I have picked to be head of Publicity, and have started to put my photo shop skills to work. We shall see where they take me. I am on a race this week to get the poster and program done (by Thursday) so everything else is unfortunately falling behind (including this blog!). Hopefully soon I will be able to share with you all my final product, since I would love to know what you think. Hard work ahead for me!

Stay tuned tomorrow (or later tonight) for an update on the retreat from this weekend and our meeting!

Adios!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Retreat!

I will be gone until Sunday afternoon on our retreat. We don't know where and we don't really know how we are getting there, nor can we bring cell phones or watches, so it shall be an interesting weekend!

See you when we get back Sunday!

Adios

PS: I know I posted later about this, but retreat was absolutely amazing, especially considering that we had no idea where we were going... it definitely let us live like we will (did) in Ecuador! So fun!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SATURDAY IS THE LAST DAY!

If you are still interested in helping finance my trip to Ecuador, even with a mere $10, please PLEASE visit my fundraising site! Enjoy --> giveforward.org/sarahcollins/

Thanks all!

Buenas noches

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Good morning, real world

The options that Ecuador could open for me are starting to make me happy about my choice to go here. On Friday I finished my application for a $1,000 scholarship towards my project. I have had tremendous trouble over the past couple months in attempting to acquire donations from friends and family to fund my trip. Thankfully I have found some great people to dig into their wallets and give forward (which I hope to be able to do when I get rich). Since I do not officially need the whole of the money, if I am chosen *fingers crossed* I would give the remaining amount to split up amongst my teammates. The whole silly economic problems are really hurting me, so make it stop! :)

Another thing this whole trip has made me realize, is how I wish I could say I am doing something next year... not that i'm not, but to have a definite answer at this point would be a great thing. To know where my life is headed, is very me. I need to stop living in the future. (another goal of mine for this trip). To live in the moment is simply what I need to do, and with this trip, I am hoping that I get a better idea of where I am heading and what I want to do. Where that leads me, I will see, but I have decided that the job hunt will wait until I return!

The count down is on...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Shots shots shots

Not of the alcohol varity, but of the vaccination kind.

Due to the snow day on Wednesday and the mass close down of campus, including the health center (and work... party!), I was forced to get my unfortunate shots today instead. Originally the health center requested that we take malaria pills, which now knowing what they do to you, i'm grateful I don't need them, and also the yellow fever shot. Instead, I was simply forced to get highly expensive $$$$ hepatitis B and typhoid shots.

#1. I hate HATE HATE needles and shots of any sort, so I was not too keen on that whole process but made it through
#2. Usually, if any shot hurts afterwards, it is something like hepatitis, thus in anticipation of that problem, I decided to go swimming to keep the arm movin' along. For a while I was good, and three hours later, it wasn't my hep shot that caused me extravagant amounts of pain, but the typhoid one! Really odd.

Needless to say, doesn't look like I shall be contracting hepatitis or typhoid any time soon (and lets hope not yellow fever or malaria). Come to find out, the last case of malaria hasn't occurred for over 25 years.

In terms of other epidemic diseases that affect Ecuador, HIV/AIDS is becoming more prevalent, and currently the prevalence of it is where South Africa was at the beginning of their epidemic (which doesn't seem to show much hope for the worsening of the disease).

Along with HIV/AIDS, Leprosy (now known as Hansen's disease), has a large affect on the country and has forced many people to be forgotten about by their families and banished to hospitals and colonies together. We will in fact have the chance to work at a health center that does deal with Leprosy, which is something I have never seen or experienced before. It should be incredibly eye opening!

Until the next update, peace amigos!

Monday, February 8, 2010

This has nothing to do with Ecuador but...

I am constantly amazed by this, and think everyone EVER should see this.
It is officially a life's goal to get there (Japan).



The day that I see this aquarium, I hope I still have a blog... because I think it is something I want to share. I have a cousin who lives in Japan, so let's keep our fingers cross that I can make that connection!

Real life experience

This whole posting after our Sunday meetings is getting a bit hard... especially when we start at 10pm and run till after midnight sometimes. Forget homework, it is time for bed!
Well here I am, Monday afternoon, and up to it again.

Last night, after anxious awaiting, some of our prayers were answered, a real normal Rostro de Cristo person sitting right in front of us! Elyse came into New York from Boston (where the RdC headquarters are) to answer a lot of questions and give us more detail into what RdC does and what we are going to be doing.

If you look back to my 2nd previous post, my anxiety about the weather, well let's just say Elyse confirmed it... but instead of 91 degrees, it will most likely be 97, humid, and rain a good amount! My favorite conditions! None the less, she did provide us with a great packing list and more information about the area, showed us a slide show of people and places around Duran, and let us know (not exactly) what we will be doing. Since this is a "BEing rather than DOing" project, the RdC volunteers with pretty much give us only a half day schedule every day. No watches needed to keep time, no cell phones needed to communicate, etc.

A normal day would entail something like this:
7:30am - Wake up!
8:30am - Get bread from local bakery and make breakfast with the help of RdC Ecuadorians
9:30am - Head out on our first "adventure" of the day, which could be going to hang out and chat with the local neighbors (who love the retreat groups!), stop by the health clinic, or look into the schools
Noon-ish - Lunch of pre-processed and packaged foods like tuna
1:00-afternoon session - Go to the kids after school programs and work on an educational project for up to an hour, then have recess! (they LOVEEEE soccer!)
6:00 - Dinner, made by our team with the help of the Ecuadorian staff.
Later - Reflection time and bed by 11pm.

Generally an overall exciting day, filled with a lot of interactions, Spanish speaking, and Ecuadorian food making!

Better start to work on my Spanish skills!
Peace

Friday, February 5, 2010

No Technology?! Impossible!

Roommate: "I would never be able to do a GO! trip... I thought about it, but I can't!"
Me: "Why... it isn't that big of a deal and is a great experience"
Roommate: "No... you know how I am without my blackberry for one minute, I have withdrawal... a whole week and I would die!"

While in Ecuador I will be forced to give up all technology, leave my CrackBerry at home and stray away from all technology for a WHOLE week. Okay... I might be exaggerating but at the same time, think about how much time we spend with technology. Right now, I am using it right here. I'm sitting in front of the TV and my cellphone is next to me.

The good part - I won't have time to think about how much I miss it, and HOPEFULLY won't be compelled to rush back to it when I get back. I'm sure it will take time to get reacquainted, just like any vacation away from technology, and I'm kind of excited for that.

Not only is it a requirement of the Global Outreach program here at Fordham University, to give up cell phones, iPods and the like during the trip, but also, we are going to an area that probably is not all that safe at all time and is drastically poor. During our week, we will be most likely so busy and immersed that there will not even be an ounce of time thinking about what else is going on in the world. The life of the Ecuadorian is exactly what we are going to learn about and to embrace that, we not only have to follow the rules implemented by GO! but also focus on them, how they live, what they do, and become part of their culture.

It will give me time to evaluate the extent to which I use, or abuse, technology and how I can really live without it, get beyond the fact that we can survive away from technology and it doesn't need to rule our lives!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Month - New Fears?

The one thing I have been thinking about the most lately is the weather and climate of Ecuador, which of course derives its name from the equator (so it must be hot?). Since i'm a female... of course I have started to think about what i'm going to pack, and how much! That is a scary thing for me. Our lovely fearless leader has a large packet of info from Rostro... yet has decided to withhold it from us, so clearly I did some research!

DurĂ¡n is also, apparently, known as Eloy Alfaro, and is located north east of Guayaquil, right on the Babahoyo river. Ecuadors.org has a nice little description of the climate and normal weather around the country, and as I understand it, the "innerlands"of Ecuador, Quito as the website says, has a normal monthly temperature high of 74°F. The weather really changes per region and per day. Another website describes the Guayaquil climate as a tropical savanna climate and the most rain comes in March (greattttt!). The max temp in March is 92°, and the low is 71°. Really...?! My hair isn't going to like that, not that I should be worrying about that of course. Well that is kind of really warm. Not that I'm a fan of the cold, but I am not a fan of the HUMIDITY! That is my least favorite of all weather climates... so I guess I'm in for it.
Maybe wikipedia is lying to me, let's hope, for my own sanity. Nonetheless, it is going to be a great adventure and I can't wait to keep you all updated!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Duran videos

Enjoy a drive through the town that I will be staying in! It is a bit delapitated and most people live in very poor conditions. I will be updating about the common statistics and economy of Duran in one of my next posts, but enjoy this view for now!

Drive through Duran Ecuador (embedding disabled)

Another youtube users has multiple videos of Duran, different parts of the city including houses, construction, and playground!

Check it them out here



Post more soon! Adios!