As I wrote in my last post, September was a very busy month for me, as it was filled up by a month-long orientation conference with 12 new volunteers. Since writing that post, time has gotten away from me and I haven’t written a post for just over a month. In part, that delay was because the final week and half of September were taken up by orientation. However, it was also because the past few weeks have been very busy, as I’ve been transitioning to the role of Field Director here in the WorldTeach Ecuador program.
Earlier this year I accepted the position of Assistant Field Director, and that is the role that I stepped into back in May. I was working alongside Lee, who was the AFD when I was a volunteer and had taken over as FD. The office was made up of two Field Staff, as opposed to three when I was a volunteer, due to decreased volunteer numbers. When I began working in the AFD position, I thought that I’d like to work in that role for a year, with the possibility of becoming FD in the future.
However, in the summer we found out that the September volunteer group would be much smaller than in recent years (12 participants, compared to 35 in 2012 and 42 in 2011!) and therefore we would only have the numbers to justify one Field Staff. After receiving this news, Lee decided that she would move to Buenos Aires, where she lived before coming to Ecuador, and I was offered the Field Director position! I’m thrilled for the opportunity, though it definitely came earlier than I expected it might. As just one person in this office there will be a lot of work, but I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead. It’s also much different to be in the office as one Field Staff – it’s much quieter and there is no one to bounce ideas off of, but it’s also nice to have independence and autonomy in how I run the program.
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Aside from taking over as FD, I’ve also been biking a lot, as usual, though that’s been limited in the past couple of weeks by the seasonal rain that has been moving in. Right now there is potential for afternoon showers nearly every day, and occasionally that rain turns to heavier storms. One activity toward the end of Orientation that was fun was a visit to Mitad del Mundo, which is a monument/tourist site devoted to the Equator, which cuts through Ecuador just to the north of Quito. Surprisingly, in about a year and a half of living in this country, I had yet to visit that site. While it is a bit of an arbitrary tourist site, it did offer opportunity for some pretty cool snapshots.
Another highlight of the past couple of weeks was another round of World Cup qualifying matches, the final games which would determine who will be in Brazil next summer Ecuador played Uruguay and Chile in these two matches, with the first taking place in Quito. At first, I wasn’t planning to go to the game, because I knew that tickets would be reselling for a very high price – but, I was able to find tickets along with a couple of current volunteers living in Quito, and we went to the game. The game started out with some rain in the early minutes, but that cleared up – and Ecuador ended up winning 1-0, thus virtually qualifying for the World Cup! It was a blast to be among all of those local fans and celebrate the team’s qualification, and I can’t wait to watch them compete with the world’s best next year!