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Herbs Found in Ecuador #1 – A Parsley Recipe

Herbs Found in Ecuador #1 – A Parsley Recipe

Here is a post from our treasurer, Mary Weick-Brady, ’82-‘84, what we hope will be a regular feature!

We’ve all seen the herbs in the markets throughout the regions of Ecuador and, as a public health nurse working in the subtropic area of Bolivar province, I encountered many types of health care workers including herbalists or curanderos.  I learned about numerous herbs and ways to use them during my life in Echeandia and I will share some of these through this website, along with some familiar recipes that contain the herbs. I also gathered ideas from a book called the “Herbs of Ecuador” as this became a fantastic reference for me when I worked with the herbalists in order to get a better understanding of why they did what they did with the herbs. Read More »

Ecuador Scraps Yasuni No Oil Drilling Plan

Ecuador Scraps Yasuni No Oil Drilling Plan

Ecuador a few years ago agreed to set aside Yasuni National Park from oil drilling: for a price. Rafael Correa had asked for $3.6 billion but the by the end of 2012, the fund had only $6.5 million in it. Now, the government looks to go forward with plans on limited oil drilling, with environmentalists mobilizing in protest. This from NPR:

The government of Ecuador has abandoned a plan that would have kept part of the Amazonian rainforest off limits to oil drilling. The initiative was an unusual one: Ecuador was promising to keep the oil in the ground, but it wanted to be paid for doing so.

The oil sits under the Yasuni national park, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth — orchids, jaguars, monkeys, birds. To get to the corner of the park that holds the oil, you have to take a plane, then a motorboat, then paddle a canoe. “Even the sound of the motor will destroy the fragility of this place,” Ivonne A-Baki, who works for the Ecuadorian government, told me this year. Read More »

El Clima Story 3: The Gringo Review

El Clima Story 3: The Gringo Review

A Review of The Gringo, J. Grigsby Crawford’s memoir by Kim Peek

I am an unapologetic book snob.  You will never catch me reading 50 Shades of Grey or chatting idly about the Twilight series.  I’d much rather settle down with a good classic or a novel by the latest acclaimed fiction writer.  However, a few weeks ago, I found myself sitting down to a different type of book: The Gringo by RPCV J. Grigsby Crawford.  Before coming to Ecuador, I’d never read a Peace Corps memoir and certainly hadn’t intended on doing so.  Nevertheless, The Gringo grabbed my attention.  Hand to hand, Kindle to Kindle, The Gringo is making the rounds among Peace Corps Ecuador volunteers. PCVs country-wide can’t stop talking about Crawford’s account of life in Ecuador.  The more I heard, the more I wanted to read the book.  Before I knew it, my own curiosity had gotten the better of me and I found myself clicking the “Download Free” button on Crawford’s Amazon.com page.  Read More »

El Clima Story 2: Peer Support Network

El Clima Story 2: Peer Support Network

411, Not 911: PSN reinvents itself by Lauren Wagner

Who: The Peer Support Network (PSN). We are a group of Peace Corps Volunteers who are selected and trained to provide support to our peers in concert and cooperation with the Peace Corps staff. Oh, and we are your friends, too.

What: The new PSN crew just got sworn in (passing of the torch and all) in February and we are excited about what 2013 has in store. In the past, PSN was sometimes interpreted as a last resort, panic moment type of thing. Although PSN members are trained in dealing with crises and stressful situations, we want to make sure that people know we are more than that. We are good listeners who have probably been through many similar scenarios. Give us a call before things get bad. Read More »

Stories from El Clima 1: Volunteer of the Quarter

Stories from El Clima 1: Volunteer of the Quarter

Who the VOQ? By Sarah Reichle (107)

            VOQ (Volunteer of the Quarter) is a VAC initiative to help us all get to know our fellow PCVs a bit better and to commend the great work that volunteers are doing in their communities. Know about a PCV working on a successful project, one who is really integrated in their site, or someone who is just being a superstar volunteer in general? Let us know: e-mail VAC at EcuadorVAC@gmail.com

Amanda Monroe (Mandy) is VAC’s Volunteer of the Quarter and is a Natural Resources Conservation volunteer from Ithaca, New York, representing Omnibus 105. Why did Mandy join Peace Corps? Everything about it, she says, but her experiences at Warren Wilson College located in the Swannanoa Valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina probably had something to do with it. Warren Wilson is different than your typical university experience in that the school is committed to emphasizing environmentalism and localism. “You complete all your credit hours like any other accredited university, but you are also required to complete 100 hours of community service (off campus) and work on campus for 15 hours a week. Students run the place, really. The work assignments vary from janitorial duties to cafeteria workers to gardeners, landscapers, ranchers, accounting wizards, plumbers, locksmiths, auto mechanics, journalists, and artists.”

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PCV Stories from El Clima

PCV Stories from El Clima

We have a great working relationship with Peace Corps Ecuador, and this month we are glad to feature three stories from volunteers in the field, from the volunteer newsletter El Clima. The stories include:

  • Volunteer of the Quarter: Amanda Monroe by Sarah Reichle – this article describes Amanda’s work as a Natural Resources Volunteer in Las Tunas, Manabí.
  • Peer Support Network reinvents itself by Lauren Wagner – this article describes the network, how it works and who is part of it.

 

Alto Coca Trip Report from Keteka

Alto Coca Trip Report from Keteka

Last newsletter, we featured a story on the new conservation tourism spot Alto Coca, founded by friend of Friend of Ecuador Mark Thurber. We also featured a post from a new adventure tourism website called Keteka. Well, in the interim, we were able to hook Keteka up with Alto Coca for this stirring trip report. We’ve grabbed the story from Keteka’s website. Check out their page for some photos and video.

Last night, I saw an active volcano erupt and I’ve since nominated it Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Seen. I’ve been to 19 countries in the world and seen some pretty cool stuff along the way, so I don’t award that title lightly. Let me explain how I had the privilege to see this.

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Not to miss events in August: Peace Corps career conference and the Third Goal Summit

Not to miss events in August: Peace Corps career conference and the Third Goal Summit

Peace Corps Career Conference: Aug 19-22 at PC headquarters in DC

Each Returned Volunteer Services career conference draws over 200 RPCVs from all around the U.S – make sure you’re one of them! At this four-day intensive conference, you’ll learn in-depth strategies to make yourself stand out from other job-seekers. We hope you’ll join us and take advantage of this opportunity to boost your job-searching skills while networking with other RPCVs and RPCV-friendly employers.

Registration now open!

 

Third Goal Summit: Aug 23-24 at PC headquarters in DC

Join Peace Corps for the first-ever Third Goal Mobilization Summit! This two-day interactive Summit will bring Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) together to exchange ideas and acquire new tools to help Americans better understand our countries of service.

Sign up today and help us elevate, redefine, and reinvigorate Peace Corps’ Third Goal.

 

Life after the PC: Getting the balance right

Life after the PC: Getting the balance right

If you happened to miss it going around social media this past week, the Daily Muse had a great article on Life after Peace Corps. The tips and points resonated with my own experience visiting home in Michigan two-thirds the way through service and then returning to the US after three years as a PCV in Ecuador. I’m sure the tone and topic rings true for many other RPCVs.

Give yourself some time to read through the full article for more thoughts on readjustment State-side. And then compare notes with the Peace Corps recommendations on the “transition home“.

Give Yourself Some Time, But Not Too Much

Basically, you need a little bit of time to relax, enjoy being home, and come to terms with the new world—but you don’t want to be sitting around feeling useless for months on end. The time needed is different for everyone, but I would recommend two to three months of resettling before jumping into anything big. The Peace Corps gives you enough cash to put money down for an apartment and get yourself back on your feet until you find a job or start school, so take advantage of that.

Carry Your Experience With You Everywhere

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how what you did in the Peace Corps transfers to the “real world.” But in reality, there are endless stories and attributes that not only should strengthen your self-worth, but are also valuable tools to use in interviews and on your resume—whether or not you enter a field that’s directly related to the work you did. Quantify what you can, but know there will be a lot that you can’t. So think about how it applies to what you want to do: your commitment, loyalty, determination, initiative, courage—I could go on and on.

 

Controversy, Quantity, and Quinoa

Controversy, Quantity, and Quinoa

You might have seen some news reports reflecting on a controversy about the beloved Andean quinoa, the superfood of the gods that is a wonder to vegetarians because it is a complete protein. The Huffington Post had a provocative and largely mistitled post “Is Fair Trade Quinoa A Real Thing, Or Has The Superfood’s Popularity Hurt Those Who Grow It?”

Actually, if you read the piece, it is pretty clear that rising prices may be tough for some quinoa consumers but is a boon to producers. But, the challenge may be that production cannot expand to keep pace with demand, which may be a mixed bag for growers, higher prices for the quinoa that is sold but some money on the table for unmet demand (though too much production might mean cheap prices for consumers and low incomes growers). It’s unclear what the ethical sweet spot is for fair trade quinoa but here is news from recent stories about the quinoa market and  Read More »