Right now, it’s raining in Minas and has only generally started raining recently.  When we first arrived the area was very dry and farmlands were struggling, now within the past week, these farmlands have been flourishing.  All the mountains have gradually been turning more and more green.

The past few days have ben the same routine.  Monday through Friday Josie, Zach and I have gone to teach at Alejandro Larrea.  The school has continuously been somewhat wild and difficult to deal with; breaking up fights, kids hitting each other on monkey bars, and the constant abandonment of teachers, which leads to children going missing and leaving classrooms.  Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we’ve all gone to more seminars discussing the core focus of education.  The discussions this week have focused on whether or not teachers and students are equal, while touching on the book Teaching to Transgress.  Also discussing how race, gender, class, and sexual orientation affect our participation, how we engage, and what’s actually taught.  Yesterday’s seminar was another “Who Am I?,”  which are seminars mainly directed at our thoughts and how we identify ourselves.  Our central topic we evaluated were stereotypes.  This was a much more personal seminar because most of us became vulnerable after the exercise we all participated in.  Throughout our entire seminar room, there were labels posted on each of the walls (Rich, Poor, Jewish, Christian, Atheist, Fat, Muslim, Black People, White People, Asian, Latino, Democrats, Republicans, Gay, Transgender, Lesbian, etc.).  We were required to go about the room in silence and write down the first word that comes to mind when we think of these groups.  It was amazing to see what some people wrote in the groups that I categorized myself in.  Some I believed were true, but majority seemed to be false.  At the end we all talked about how stereotyping are almost always revolved around negative opinions and tend to not be true.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are now filled with two hour Spanish classes, instead of the previous three hour Spanish classes.

The rest of the group just left for Otavalo after seminar today, leaving the program leaders and Brooks and I.  Brooks and I heard from our host brother David, who’s in Quito at the moment and won’t arrive in San José de Minas until much later.  He let us know that we will be leaving for Baños de Agua Santa between 3-4am, and will head out on a 4.5 hour drive.  We’re leaving with David and Kelly, our host siblings, and we can not wait for this weekend.  Baños is apparently one of the places you must visit when you come to Ecuador, and we could not be any luckier to be going with our host family.

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