​Joëlle Ribaux

Hi my name is Joelle, I’m from Switzerland, and I turned 20 in Malingua! I think the months I stayed there were the most special of my life. I used to teach English and Maths to the kids on the weekdays, it was great because they learn fast but it happens that they also forget fast I as noticed after the two vacations weeks for Christmas.  When looking at it backwards I think that doing more Spanish reading and understanding would be more useful, if I ever come back I know what I would do!  Besides the scholar stuff we did lots of puzzles and some games such as Rummy Cube, Candy World, and I made a game in order to make them review some English vocabulary. For Christmas we made a Advent Calendar with paper rolls to make little tower, and every morning one of the kid open one tower. We also did a Christmas tree with lots of decorations which was one of the best thing I remember! Those kids are great! They don’t spend enough time playing or making creative stuff and God knows they are creative : take a look at our Advent Calendar and Christmas tree!

I didn’t teach that much to the high school teenagers, mostly because I didn’t feel the right to be a teacher for them : they are more or less my age and they have much more experience and responsibilities than I have. I felt like they could teach me more to me than me to them…

Usually I spent the afternoon walking around with William, playing with the kids or helping Elvia with the household, and preparing some stuff for the next days. William shown me everything about the area : Pucará, the hot water spring, one day we walked to Quilotoa which was kind of hard! Another day we went to Chugchilán which was also great ! I hiked to the Mirador and saw the whole valley. I spend some time with Enma and Blanca, Paulino’s little sisters and they taught me how to cook chicken, from life to the plate! Elvia decided to build a shelves to order the clothes so we spent some afternoons nailing and bending clothes ! then she made some collages with all the pictures she had. Now Elvia and Paulino’s room looks like a real home! For Christmas we also made a Christmas tree, with stars drawn by Bolivar and Roberto.

As I said I turned 20 up there and it was the most special and warn birthday I’ve ever had! I also spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve there, and that was awesome! Lots of dancing, lots of drinking too… We went to Tungiche for the corrida, then to Isinlivi for the election of Miss…, and celebrate Christmas as well as Elvia’s birthday with killing and eating a sheep. New Year’s Eve starts with the baptism of three children and then by lots of eating and dancing at the parents’ house, then we came back to Malingua to burn the Viejos in front of the church, dancing around the fire.

Those two months weren’t always easy but they were great!  The first week was actually really tough, it was cold and in the addition the height doesn’t help you at all to keep up with them (especially playing football), and it was mostly trying all day long to adjust to a reality so totally different than the one I’m used to. Fortunately Katrien from the Hostal Tiana warned me and the fact that I could come back to Latacunga anytime was reassuring. Hopefully at the end of the second week, Pam, Jill, Alex and the engineers came and that allows me to settle and to be ready to carry one by the time they were gone. Alex stayed for one more month and that was so easier to be two to rely on each other. Then she left and I was left alone but much more at ease than before as I spent the last month there. I even think that this last month alone was the best because I was totally immerged in their lives. On the whole, my time there was… genial!

By the way I’d to thank so much William, Elvia, Paulino, Lautaro, Alcides, Aurora, Ignacio, Wilmer, Edison, Marco, Lorena, Celinda, and all the other for giving me so much warmth and joy! Oh and I thank Pam for making all that possible…!

​​Centro Educativo La Minga, Inc. is a Non-Profit, tax deductible organization.

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