Today in the 3rd grade we celebrated St. Valentines day by making hearts and learning how to say “I love you,” in English.
Tabu adj. forbidden, prohibited 2. holy 3. n restriction, prohibition
I hear “tabu” when:
Sitting on mats under the mango trees when my niece Marinette tries to eat a leaf or a pencil or my brother’s toe. “Tabu” can be used to mean “No”.
I hear “tabu” in church- Papa God, Jesus Son, mo Tabu Spirit. “Tabu” can also mean “Holy”.
I see the “Tabu Tri” the Namele on the Vanuatu national flag- it is a sign of peace, or when seen wrapped on poles and stuck in the water as a sign of “this is a fish sanctuary, keep out”
I hear it when referred to Mr. Ora, the man who drives a truck to the airport. He is my “Tabu Abu” which means that I am not allowed to joke around him, refer to him by his name, or touch him.
I see “tabu” written on the wall of the school’s workshop, I suppose either it is either a holy workshop or forbidden.
Happy National Peanut Butter Day! In honor of the tasty, buttery spread, do some miles for Feeding America and the World Food Programme today! #EveryMealMatters
…especially those with peanut butter.
We hear from Volunteers all the time that peanut butter is a must-have during service! Did you eat a lot of it when YOU served?
Things I’ve Learned in Ecuador: #6 You Can Never Have Too Many Parades
About two months ago were the fiestas de la parroquia in my town of Tonchigüe. There was a rodeo, the election of the reina (more to come about that!), bailes and last but certainly not least were the desfiles. Parades are seriously underrated in the United States. Yes, we have Memorial Day parades, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and the infamous St. Patrick’s Day parade in Scranton… but here in Ecuador they really, really, REALLY love parades. Just a rough estimate but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about twenty desfiles since arriving here in Ecuador which averages out to about two parades per month.
All the local schools participate in the desfiles and there’s lots of marching, baton twirling, and military-looking outfits, but by far the most important and distinguishing characteristic of the desfiles are the drums. I’ve only ever seen about 4 different instruments in the parades: drums, xylophones, trumpets… and more drums. There are about 15 drums to every one other instrument and they can be heard for miles around. There are big drums, small drums, medium sized drums, any kind of drum you could imagine. Goldilocks would certainly not have a problem finding her dream drum here in Ecuador during fiesta time. The drumming is always accompanied by some dancing with batons, inappropriately short skirts and sometimes berets.
There are also the costume desfiles. The marching of the schools I can somewhat understand but these costume parades still blow my mind. I’ve asked around town and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to how or what they decide to dress up as. I’ve seen children in Scream masks, dressed up as gangsters and Native American Indians. There are always all different sorts of animal costumes, traditional costumes from different regions of Ecuador but there’s also sometimes children wearing huge cardboard boxes painted like aquariums and some dressed as migrant farm workers. My favorite was the high schoolers walking around on huge stilts and dressed up in bright, multi-colored clown-looking costumes. Again, I have no idea why and I don’t think anyone else does either.
The best/worst part of these desfiles is that they last about 1 and a half hours minimum. I waited for about two hours in Atacames during one parade to see the kids from my high school and there were still about 15-20 schools yet to pass after them! And since all the towns in my area only have one major road, it’s always fun to see the buses lined up and stuck behind the desfiles for hours at a time. Luckily, I haven’t been stuck in a bus behind a parade yet!
Please someone come visit me! I can almost guarantee you will see at least one desfile!
This is Joanna, one of our favorite students. She works insanely hard at the things she wants to accomplish. She wants to be an English translator when she graduates, and she’s also a student assistant in our department.
Last night she came over and taught me how to cook some simple, traditional Sichuan dishes.
Someone once mistakenly taught her that Americans say “howdy!” after they finish eating. The first time she did this, we had to gently explain that this isn’t quite true. But it’s blossomed into a running joke for us. When we finished our meal, she sat back, rubbed her stomach and proclaimed “Howdy!”
It was the perfect sentiment!
In my Oral English speaking and listening class we spent about a month “traveling” to different places in America. We discussed the culture and lifestyles of New York, Florida, Washington D.C. and California. All of which are places my students hope to get the chance to visit one day. While we were discussing California, I decided it would be a good idea to discuss my version of “Environmental Get Down “aka how can we environmentally make the world a better place. I talked about California as a green state and we discussed 5-6 ways we could help the environment. This of course involved me tell my students they should “eat less meat” because cows “fart and burp” methane gases. This turned into to a big laugh, because most people in China think its unhealthy to not eat meat, and because I was in front of a group of 30 students explaining the English words “fart” and “burp” furthering my students ideas that I’m “extremely weird but they love me.” By the end of the lesson I had my students choose one topic that they thought was most interesting and had them create Be Green Comics. The next class they shared the stories they created, all of which turned out fantastic and really interesting. They all loved it so much that next semester I’m going to be doing an “Adventure club” secondary product. This will involve me and some students hiking around different areas of Chongqing and discussing different ways we can help the environment, and maybe even planting some flowers and trees along the way. Check the pictures for the final results 😍
- decorating the christmas bush outside with ribbon because everything else would get blown away or probably eaten. Also, this is my family’s “first tree” (guess I wasn’t feeling festive last year)
- shared homeland with the guys at the mairie
2nd goal is my favorite (bringing america to senegal)
About the Author: Megan Petersen servers as the PEPAR Coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe.
As we approach World AIDS Day, which is marked on December 1, I wanted to share a little bit about how we are carrying out the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief…