Casa de Mera, Guayaquil, Ecuador (8/8, 11:44 p.m.)

( transcribed entry from 08/08/08, 11:44 p.m. )

Erica worked it out with my family so that they– well really just Andres– could go to the banquet last night. The women stayed home with the children, and others were too young to go. The food was great, and Andres gave his characteristic ‘ooh’ when he saw it.

Who *wouldn't* want to hang out with these sweeties?

Who *wouldn't* want to hang out with these sweeties?

We spent most of the day today out of the barrio touring Guayaquil and shopping as a group of North Americans. I did have a nice talk with D, my traveling buddy and fellow Taurus of 1979 and parent of a 3-year-old-daughter. We had lunch together (he treated– big spender!– all of three dollars) and talked religion. That was the highlight of the day pre-dinner.

During the tour, there was a moment that summed it all up for me: we drove past the gardens on the Malécon, where last year the four buddies, Abby, Andres, Cristian and I, had strolled, posed, picked flowers, and chatted an evening away. This year I saw it as a tourist: over a fence, through the glass window of a bus, sitting by myself. No friends, no host family, no leisurely strolling. I was glad to return to the barrio to spend time with my family.

This evening we had the dance, which was also very different from last year, but also more contained (no beer kegs, which, given the age of some of the North American volunteers, is a very good thing indeed).  Bonnie and I went with Andres and Eddy from next door. Isabel (host mother) and Martha (her second daughter) showed up later. I danced with Eddy and a few times with Andres, who is quite a bit approved over last year (but that doesn’t say much, as anyone who’s met my dear bro-at-heart would know– *no* rhythm!).

Feeling pretty melancholy this evening; missing my friends from last year and my family back home, and still disappointed that my family’s house is unfinished. A rough night.

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