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Well, I think it's Eight

Friday, March 26, 2010

I've been away for a month so I haven't been near a scale.

Yesterday my hostess offered to let me use her scale and ushered me into her dressing room to (ugh) get on the scale.

We have been drinking green tea daily (that's supposed to help) and I've been walking everywhere, and eating like the Thin Man (my host) and getting a five-day a week workout lifting little kids, running, playing ball, jump rope, ring-around-the-rosy, and all manner of kiddie games, not to mention spiriting the little ones to the bathroom I don't know how many times a day.

Well the scale read 63 kilos, which I have multiplied by 2.2 to give me 139 lbs. That's down (I think) eight pounds from when I left home last month. I know that living at the Equator can reduce your weight by half a kilo because of the reduced effect of gravity here, but so, maybe it's seven.

Next week in the jungle sweating, and a month in the high Andes trying to breath Oxygen might help me lose a few more pounds. Ojala!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONECOOKIETWO 4/3/2010 6:10PM

    Mookster,
This is wonderful news!!! I am so jealous of your adventures.
And I am so interested in reading about them, thanks for your blogs and posts.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/3/2010 6:10:42 PM

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IRISHGIRL74 3/27/2010 11:00AM

    Sounds like you are having an exciting trip. I hope you are having fun!

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New Addiction

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I am hooked! I am addicted!

I will admit that I have probably been white water rafting four or five times in my life, and the waters were all very calm, and on the Vorder Rhine in Switzerland it was more of a river float that white water rafting.

So when I got to The Rio Negro outside of Banos in Ecuador I really saw white water. The river was turbulent, violent, and unforgiving. After fifteen minutes of suiting up in clammy wetsuits, we had a 40 minute instruction session which included rescue.

Two minutes out on the water, which was rushing by at speeds unallowable on highways but not on rivers, five men fell off one of the rafts in our party of four. Immediately we forgot about the thrill of crashing over rocks, splashing into waves and went into rescue mode, trying to paddle upstream in a river that was unrelenting in its fury. The men overboard were instructed to lie on their packs and not try to stop themselves, but as the river eddied and roared, rushed and sped the five men were swept up in its fury. Water washed over them and they bobbled along being pushed from side to side by the unmerciful current.

At last we rescued one of the men, who came aboard our raft panting and hyperventilating, but oh so thankful to be pulled from the water. As soon as we could we made for shore alongside a tributary that cascaded into the river. Some of the men were so traumatized by their ordeal that they didn't want to continue.

After a brief rest in a wading pool in the tributary, we donned our helmets again and continued down river, with greater respect for the wild forces of nature.

But aside from the men overboard the run was the thrill of a lifetime. That roiling river, that majestic fury of untamed water is now coursing in my veins. I am hooked, I am addicted, and now the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania will just be nothing more than a kindergarten exercise. This is the real stuff. And I am hooked on white water rafting.

So if my main page on Spark People has a new addition you will know what it is: aficianando of white water rafting.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IRISHGIRL74 3/26/2010 9:17AM

    Wow, sounds like you had fun!

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UUCEEJAY 3/25/2010 8:23AM

    Wow! What an adventure! I have been on the New River in West Virginia, but it seems pretty tame compared to what you have described. Thanks for sharing this. emoticon

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Feeling my age

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It´s not easy to admit this, but I'm becoming a blob in my sixties.

Here I am in Banos, the extreme sports capital of Ecuador and instead of trying the bungee jump, the river canyoning, the waterfalls repelling, the treks up to the crater of the Tunguahaua volcano I have settled for tame things like white water rafting, thermal baths and treks around the countryside. Mountain biking is not my thing, at least not at this altitude. I have summarily rejected lots of fun things I would ordinarily jumped at just a few years ago.

After a rainy trek this morning I canceled the horseback riding (in the rain) for an afternoon nap. (We were up at 4:30 am. to go to the thermal baths and see the ¨"sun¨rise, I say that because we never saw the sun, I should say the equinox lightening.) Today was supposed to be the most brutal day of the year when the sun´s rays shine most directly and strongest on this equator town. We never saw the sun.

That nap after a warm shower to warm the bones felt great. I am definitely feeling my age.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ARCHIMEDESII 3/23/2010 11:49AM

    You're in Ecuador ! HOW WONDERFUL !! Actually, I'm not much of a bungee jumping fan having studied physics. eh-hem... I'm sure there are plenty of other great things you can do in Ecuador that don't involve extreme sports. I'd certainly enjoy lounging in a thermal bath.

Your problem IS NOT that you're a blog. You are the least blog like person I know !! You know what I think it is ??? If you're at a high altitude, you may be experiencing some altitude sickness. That wouldn't surprize me. So, don't feel bad that you don't seem to want to do things. there may be a physical cause.

It could take a few days for your body to acclimate to the high elevation. maybe you'll feel like bungee jumping later this week.

have a wonderful time while you're there !!


-- karen



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ONECOOKIETWO 3/21/2010 12:07AM

    Maybe you're feeling your age, but I must take issue with your "blob" comment. Give me a break, girlfriend! Just because you're not bungie jumping doesn't mean you're a blob. I'm not bungie jumping either, nor would I have been 20 years ago, or 20 years before that. I think "tame" things like white water rafting are pretty exciting, actually. But, at 54, perhaps I am more of a fuddy duddy than you are. You seem pretty athletic and active!

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Frustration, Hopelessness, No Way to Help

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Usually volunteers come to third world countries with the expectation of changing the world, and go home glad for the experience, but realizing that the problems they came to "fix" will be there for generations to come.

I did not come to Ecuador with any such expectations, my past experiences have taught me that all we can do is help in whatever way we can and hopefully leave an impression that will resonate with these young minds.

Last week the color was yellow. We read stories about yellow , identified yellow things, drew with yellow crayons and markers, played with yellow crepe paper streamer. One whole week of pre-school indoctrination in the color yellow.

This week it is green. Same activities but with green. When I ask them to identify the green color they all shout "yellow" like some unthinking parrots. I am glad I was never a teacher.
I am truly wondering if these three and four year-olds will ever understand color.

Potty training problems, maternal neglect, no respect for donated items or things that are not theirs, medical problems that these poor people don't address either because of ignorance or not caring. Today there was a case of lice in the classroom. We three volunteers were horrified, and right aways we started itching. The director said that 80 per cent of the kids get lice at some time. These are the frustration we volunteers face.

I believe that the orphanage is truly addressing their physical needs for food, shelter clothing, basic education and spiritual education. But I don't really know if it is addressing the education that goes beyond the ABC's, teaching hygiene, good health practices, social skills beyond please and than you. Maybe that's a tall order for an over crowded orphanage with lots of abandoned, abused and neglected children, whose psychological problems are so deep, whose souls are so hurt, that we in the first world cannot fathom their situations.

I would hope that some of these children will survive and thrive despite their circumstances, but for now it just seems so hopeless for us volunteers who can do only do much in so little time.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UUCEEJAY 3/19/2010 11:24PM

    I've had lice in my classroom. Things were tense when the public health nurse checked everyone (including me) for the nits. Those little critters are nasty. I understand what you are saying about feeling itchy even though you didn't personally have them. I think my head itched for a week just thinking about all of my students who were infested.
You may not think that all your efforts to teach yellow have gotten the concept of color across, but it all builds up in their little minds and one day -wow it 's there.

There is a quote about teaching, "They may forget what you said, But they will never forget how you made them feel." So yellow and green are not nearly as important as attention from adults who care and you are giving them that while attempting to teach colors. emoticon

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UUCEEJAY 3/19/2010 11:22PM

    I've had lice in my classroom. Things were tense when the public health nurse checked everyone (including me) for the nits. Those little critters are nasty. I understand what you are saying about feeling itchy even though you didn't personally have them. I think my head itched for a week just thinking about all of my students who were infested.
You may not think that all your efforts to teach yellow have gotten the concept of color across, but it all builds up in their little minds and one day -wow it 's there.

There is a quote about teaching, "They may forget what you said, But they will never forget how you made them feel." So yellow and green are not nearly as important as attention from adults who care and you are giving them that while attempting to teach colors. emoticon

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CMBELISLE 3/19/2010 1:00PM

    Lice are not just a third world country problem and they are not necessarily a cleanliness issue. I grew up and currently live in Atlanta, GA. All of my children have had lice and have known other students with lice. I've had a lot to learn because the only experience I had with them growing up was my mother's stories from when she was a teacher. Fortunately, children seem to outgrow them as they get out of elementary school and into middle school. I am SO glad I haven't had any more issues with them as my youngest is now in high school.

I know it seems like you aren't doing enough for the children, but I know you are doing what you can with what you have. As long as you are doing your best, you are doing great.

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THEFITNUTLIFE 3/18/2010 11:39PM

    Wow, you've had a rough day. Send it to God and let him take care of it. You've done all you can. It's sad and heart wrenching, but you are doing an amazing job just being there to help them even in the littlest ways. My heart goes out to them and to you.

Love and Prayers.

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GOALIEGRANDMA3 3/18/2010 11:11PM

    You had a rough day.

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BOBBIENORTHERN 3/18/2010 10:55PM

    Wow, thats why I am so glad I have Jesus to talk to. This is a mammoth, heart wrenching need to fill needs mission. What can you do except what you just did. Leave the rest up to the Father God and He will work through Jesus who works through Holy Spirit who works through us to love. Love, what else can we do but reach out in love. I have no idea of how to answer any of those question and I dont think that you expect me or anyone else to have an answer, we are not God. But there is the God who knows everything. It truly is a helpless, hopeless and frustrating life having to face all of these unsurmountable problems, just do what you can and what your heart leads you to do. I just had to respond to this blog, it so touched my heart. I have deep comapassion and empathy for those people and for your suffering for them. But, we are not the ones who went to the cross to offer salvation and hope and faith and love but, we can be used by Him to bring love and life to those who suffer. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Beans, beans, beans

Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekend meals are always a little different. The day maid does not come into work and that means the senora cooks. She is a plain, simple Finnish cook, and her meals are always tasty, but for the most part she prefers that her maid make the weekday main meal, which is served at 130 pm.

But on weekend I like to give her a rest too, so I usually invite someone to eat with me. On Saturday my former Spanish teacher ate the main meal with me. We went to a steakhouse and she had lomo and I had something served to me that I was not expecting.

On Sunday I invited the director of the orphanage to have lunch with me. She invited me to her church (two hours long, 1 hour of which was a sermon) and then we were supposed to head out to a restaurant. Well, it was her adopted daughter{s 7th birthday and she had to head back to the orphanage to prepare for the party....so she invited me to have beans with her.

The typical plate is beans (with some meat) rice and fried plantains. It is so basic it was good, but I had envisioned some down time for her (she is in demand 24/7) and a gringo meal for me, at least.

Not knowing what or how the food was prepared I could only guess at the calories in it. But I know these people don{t count calories and don{t serve special foods for people with allergies or for people who are watching their waistlines.

I rather like eating my main meal at midday, that way I always know how much or how little I can eat at the evening "lunch." I have not been on a scale since coming here, but I think that I am getting less calories and coupling that with all the walking, and doing Okay.

Only the scale and time will tell.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONECOOKIETWO 3/16/2010 12:19AM

    They eat beans there? I didn't know you could grow beans that high...
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SHERYLP461 3/15/2010 8:40PM

    What a wonderfuladventure into the culinary arts!

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