Arte de la Calle (X)


One of the organizations in Montañita where I place volunteers for our program is the town primary school. The director and the teachers are all so friendly, but because of cut backs the teachers are alone in classrooms with sometimes 40 kids. There is no real playground, and many classrooms are just divided from eachother by barriers a couple yards high, which makes the noise intense at times.

But last year a local artist painted this gorgeous piece on the ugly crumbly part of their wall. It makes me smile every time I walk to the school for a meeting or to bring a volunteer.



When I walked into the Guardería it took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the low light. The facility is a giant cement box with 4 “classrooms” partitioned off at shoulder level with wood and cane walls. If I hadn’t known, it would have taken me a moment to realize it was a place for children. But then a little cannonball of energy came sprinting out of the dark and wrapped herself around my knees. She grabbed my hands and pulled me down to her level so she could give me a hug that made her seem bigger then her tiny 4-year-old body seemed capable of. “¿Como te llamas niña?” “¡Tatiana!” she announced. Continue reading


The pig is enormous. It’s the size of a smart car. A wall of flesh. A freak of nature. Bigger than I imagined a pig could be. (Manbearpig?)  It’s pen is a joke. Not only could it climb over the fencing easily, it could just walk through it, like a car smashing through a wall in a Bond movie, laying waste to the enclosure in an explosion of splinters and maul my face off. I stare at its huge slobbering mouth. Continue reading

Different Worlds

I arrive at the hotel and am greeted with a big fat stereotype. Actually a group of them standing around in a lux open air lobby, looking eager but slightly frightened with their cameras in hand. I don’t have to hear them talk to know they are American. The clothes are the give away. Germans also send a lot of older plump tourists, pockets swollen with cash, sunburnt noses, gawking with both appreciation of their surroundings, and with the judgmental lenses of a people who see the world as being centered on them. But the Americans just look so American. Continue reading

New Job, New Challenges

Hello Señora! I’m so excited about teaching English for the University. I’ve been looking for a job like this since I’ve been here. Thank you, I hope so too. You want me to meet you on Friday to pickup the materials? Of course, I can do that. At 11? Wonderful, see you then…

Hello, I have an appointment with the Director of the Language Department. Yes right now. What do you mean she’s not here? I have to teach a class on Monday, I don’t even know what level the students are! It’s a conversational class? Ok, that’s a start, but I need the text book and I don’t know what room the class is in. Hmmm, well, that’s an interesting suggestion, but I’d rather not just wander around asking people, if that could be at all avoided. Continue reading