Saturday, February 27, 2010

Good karma no less... travel to Ecuador

I've been pretty much out of touch for the last two weeks since I have travelling with twenty three of my students. We left February 12th and returned today February 25th at midnight. Where did we go you ask? We went to Ecuador to help a small native village called Chilcapamba fix up their local church.
Each year in our school sends students from the International Education Program on a humanitarian trip. This year my colleague Lyne and I organized it with 23 Secondary 4 and 5 students, and off we went. The trip is organized so that we do the work at the beginning and then we get to play tourist so the kids can visit Ecuador's natural beauty.
This trip is not an easy cultural jaunt since we live in rather primitive (a least by our standards) but comfortable accommodations and it includes a lot of hard work. For example, a hot shower was almost impossible to get, usually we had to content ourselves with an ice cold shower that dribbled rather than showered. But there were compensations, the food was abundant and nutritious and the villagers quickly adopted us. When we left there were tears all around, we were family.
The village had built a new community centre which was attached to the church, but the church was in poor repair and there was the bathroom to finish between the two buildings. So we scrapped all of the walls inside and out, then put on a coat of resin primer over the brick and finally we repainted it with two coats of white paint with blue trim.  Then we cleaned everything up and we were in business. We also helped put the roof on the toilets and paint the interior. Besides our hard work, a part of the cost of the trip went directly to the villagers which permitted them to buy all the material needed for the renovations.
Here are some pictures of the work that we did.

 Before we started.

Sanding the walls

Painting the inside


Painting the outside
Finishing the blue trim with the help of the local children.

After we had finished.

I'll write about the rest of the trip in the next post. So hasta la proxima.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The mouse that roared

I found this on the Internet and found it hilarious. It is by the animator John Nolan and so no actual mice were hurt by the making of it. Enjoy.