Monday, October 12, 2009

Grey Days

Rainy Days in Quito

The rains have begun. I was warned that winter in Quito is characterized by daily deluges and biting cold, which has yet to be my experience, until today. The rain began yesterday afternoon as we drove from Cotopaxi, continued all night, and this morning Pichincha was covered in mist, and although the sun peeked out for a few hours in the middle of the day, it did not get warm and the rains began again later in the day. I was entirely unprepared, and became soaked more than once. I must purchase an umbrella!

Eric left his cellphone in a taxi today, making it five phones that have found other owners in almost two months since he arrived in Quito. Maya left her glasses in her school bus, adding to her two school jackets that have been adopted by other children. I am not sure what the significance of all our lost and misplaced and robbed items could be. It cannot be simple coincidence that so many of our meager belongings are no longer ours. Are we to be learning and growing from our experience?

It was back to Spanish class today, where I am feeling less and less confident and more confused and overwhelmed. I wonder if this is just a natural place to be at this point in the learning process, or if I am not studying enough or going too quickly or am I simply too ambitious in my efforts to learn as much as possible in as short a time as possible. After four hours in the classroom, I want to get away as quickly as possible, and I do not want to review what I have learned or read more or practice more. There is really little time between the end of class and the time that I must pick Maya up and take care of her.

My destination today was the Mindalae Ethnic museum, which has comprehensive collections of ethnic textiles, artifacts and ceramics from each of the regions of Ecuador. The figures and pots from the Quichua tribes of the Amazon were extensive and impressive, as were the feathered headdresses of the Schuar, and the ceramics of the many pre-Columbian tribes of Ecuador, but I spent most of my time looking at the textiles and again trying to remember and memorize the traditional dress of the different ethnic groups throughout the country. Ecuador is divided into 25 or so distinct provinces populated by different ethnic groups, and each have their traditions and history and beliefs and wear very specific attire that identifies them. It is remarkable that Ecuador has so many different indigenous populations that have retained so much of the past. I find it interesting that so many continue to wear their traditional dress for their daily activities. I believe that one day I will be able to identify where people come from by their attire.

Chigras Made From Palmetto Leaves


Ceramic Figure

Quichua Amazon Figure

Spondylus Shell

Weaving Loom


Chimboazo Poncho

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