Taste of Ecuador - Katsus
My host family has been telling me for months that November is a great time of the year because…
Happy First Day of Spring!
"In my small village in Ukraine, The Meeting of Spring is the single largest public celebration held each year around March 1st. Each Street creates a float-type submission and everyone who lives on the street passes through the town before doing a skit on the main stage. In these photos, I’m with my host mother Laryssa and her street neighbors who were dressed as aliens!"
- Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer Jessie Park
Peace Corps Ukraine Group 39 arrived in Ukraine and was welcomed with traditional bread, dipped in salt.
- Peace Corps Education Volunteer Jeramie Heflin
Thanks to Peace Corps Environment Volunteer David Schlessinger for sharing this photo in our Digital Library!
(Share photos from YOUR service: http://collection.peacecorps.gov/)
David had this to say about his photo:
"On World AIDS day the members of the local HIV group MASUPHA (Makete Supplies People Living with HIV/AIDS) marched in the villages of Tanzania. The group members and I were wearing Peace Corps 50th anniversary Khangas made by Peace Corps Tanzania. The group members sang powerful songs while marching through the villages. Later, speeches were given by MASUPHA group leaders, health care workers, various village government officials, and myself, a Tanzanian environment Peace Corps volunteer. The event helped raise awareness of the HIV problem, encourage testing, educate villagers, and reduce stigma for those living with HIV/AIDS."
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!
- 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)
I was helping make hamburgers and fries with some other Volunteers for some of our Cameroonian friends while visiting my regional capital. I love children here and this young girl seemed amiable enough that I could approach her. She didn’t quite get the fist bump so it turned into a one finger and thus, voila, E.T. phone home!
Peace Corps Volunteer Janelle Walikonis
An elder woman in Panama paints a Peace Corps Volunteer with a temporary paint from the juices of a fruit called Jagua.
Here are some photos from Peace Corps Volunteers to get you ready for the big game tonight!
Volunteer Danny Lovell and his host mother enjoy a snack together in their small village in Armenia. In the beginning, Lydia’s family lived in the home as well, but they eventually moved to Germany. Though Lydia spoke in a heavy and difficult to understand dialect, she and Danny were able to find a way to communicate.
Volunteer Emily Haas - Peace Corps Armenia, 2009-2011
Second Place - Sharing Overseas Culture with America
50th Anniversary Photo Contest