Chronicles of the Wayward Moot

WELCOME TO THE MOOT, oh world-wanderers and word-whisperers. After two years of Peace Corps. After 2,200 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. What. Comes. Next?


Here's that other volunteer (on the right) along with the owner of the finca (farm) heading down the steep pasture to a little cascada (waterfall) where we swam for a bit before climbing back up the surreal-dream-green slope to sample three different bottles of moonshine. One kind the soak with pieces of pineapple in it. Another uses some kind of root. A third involves an elaborate process including boiling chicken and veal meat after fermenting the sugar cane juice.... meat liquor. Yikes, but it tastes good. Well, it tastes like something. Maybe better left to use for cleaning engine parts.

Upon returning to Piñas from the farm we were treated to this panoramic vista of the Cordillera de Viscaya, on which lies the city of Zaruma. That's the urban center of my site in the center of the photo appearing as a whitish grayish cluster amidst the green of the surrounding forest and pasture. From here the perspective does a nice job of making one feel like the focal point for so much talk and thought and existential struggle for two years of service is quite trivial ... it all comes down to relatively tiny patch of ground in a tiny country within a huge continent and an even larger planet. Our impact, with very few exceptions, will be one measured by the hearts and minds we touch more than the gardens we plant or the garbage we pick up. Only be sharing ourselves as individuals and friends can we perhaps position ourselves to foment better practices that can be adopted by our host communities.

Speaking of relationships, here's the very very new volunteer for Zaruma (in red) getting to know some of the administrators of a colegio nocturno (night school). She's part of the newest crop of trainees in the youth and families program and will be focusing her energy on helping the community with topics such as sex ed, self-esteem, decision-making, nutrition, and anything else that Peace Corps or Zaruma can think of. Gonna be a gringo party here soon it seems.

Over the weekend I assisted yet another film crew, this time from Loja, document the beauty and richness of the local area. We hit up a waterfall, went to the tourist mine, visited the local natural sweets factory, and several other attractions. Here you can see the recently elected Reina de Zaruma 2007, Geanella along with the host of the show, Boris, and a mannequin miner in la mina El Sexmo.

On our way down the valley to Ortega for a splash in the cascada we made some tomas (literally "takes" or shots) at the sports field in Sinsao, a parish about 20 minutes from Zaruma. Even on a cloudy day the view up towards Cerro Chivaturco and the Andean energy-vortex at Cerro de Arcos was impressive.


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