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Brittany: Some silly things

December 1, 2010

The park (Parque Amazonica, where my internship is) received a $50,000 grant from the US Embassy—they fund different development projects—to build a science center/library on the island. The grand opening was a few days ago and so the US Ambassador to Ecuador, an entourage of embassy people, the Mayor of Tena and other local government people all attended.

Afterward, Anna and I were invited to a lunch event with our boss, the ambassador, the mayor, and their respective groups.  It was a little awkward—I felt like we had no business being there—but we got to go to this delicious restaurant and had a tasty, free lunch.

The gift giving began once everyone was done eating. The mayor gave traditional jewelry to the ambassador, like a “on behalf of Tena” thing, and the ambassador had things for the mayor and my boss. The event was winding down, but then out of nowhere, the mayor made Anna and I come up in front of everyone!

He apparently had two extra necklaces and thought it be a good idea to give them to the two random American girls. So we had to go stand at the head of this long table of people, say where we were from and why we were in Tena, and then the mayor slipped necklaces over our heads. It was pretty ridiculous.

Then, after work I went over to Julia’s house. She lives above a store, and so to get to her front door you travel down a long enclosed hallway beside the store that is open to the street. Once inside, you go up some stairs, through another door and then there is her house.

That explanation really is necessary because when I went to leave, I couldn’t open the front door! Someone had come and stacked giant bags of detergent all the way down the hallway so the front door couldn’t open all the way.

It was so absurd that Julia and I about died laughing. The door could open about 6 inches, so we tried scooting the bags out of the way. I tried squeezing my body through the crack. I contemplated trying to shove myself through and then climbing over the bags.  We even considered finding a window to climb out of. I was literally stuck inside her house! Luckily before I tried the last option, this guy came and moved the bags for us.

That describes my general experience in Ecuador well. I often feel out of place and strange things are always happening that don’t quite make sense, but it always works out in the end and makes for a good story!

–Brittany Libra

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