Sunday, March 13, 2011


We just enjoyed the Ecuadorian celebrations of Carnival. I didnt really know the purpose of Carnival until after I had celebrated. Odd I know. Later I learned that the word "carnival" comes from the Italian "carn-aval", which means absence of meat. According to the Catholic calendar, the festivities precede the period of Lent which begins on Ash Wednesday ( March 9th this year.) So the origin of Carnival is to compensate for the forty days you will be giving up something in preparation for the remembrance of Christ's crucifixion.

I experienced Carnival in Quito,Ecuador in 2005 and again this year in Cuenca. I hear that there are many popular festivals held throughout the country and that it is a time of masks, jokes, water-fights, drinking, music and dances. However, we are advised to return home before dark during Carnival. We have followed that advise and have not seen any of the festivals other than water fights which are quite intense to say the least. It is common to see people throwing water balloons, eggs and/or flour both on friends and strangers passing by.

When I was a volunteer in Quito we were involved in these water fights on our drive to the orphanages. I remember opening the car window and almost instantaneously being hit by a water balloon thrown from a passing car. It shocked me, and I thought it was so odd, but so funny. So for the remaining days of carnival we brought our own ammunition and partook in the fun.

I also remember water fights in the orphanage. One day, during Carnival, I was feeding a small child soup. An Ecuadorian worker named Naomi walked past and whispered to me, " Quieres jugar Carnival? " Which means "do you want to play carnival?" I enthusiastically responded, "Si!" thinking she was asking me to team up with her against someone after I was finished feeding the child. I was wrong, Naomi left the room, came back, smashed a egg on my head and then threw a hand full of flour in my hair while yelling, "feliz carnival!". Still feeding the child, my only defense was to throw the bowl of soup at her. I remember calling my dad to ask him how I could get Naomi back worse than she got me. The next day I came prepared. While Naomi was bent over making a bed I smashed an egg and a hand full of powder sugar in her hair.

This is a picture of the group I volunteered with in Quito from Dec 2004 thru March 2005.
Here we are playing Carnival in the street outside our house. Quito March 2005.

The water fight moved into the house. That's me being dragged back outside to be floured.
Quito March 2005

Here I am preparing for an attack on my fellow volunteers as they return from shift.
Quito March 2005

The volunteers here in Cuenca experience the same type of water wars with the orphanage workers. It has been so fun to see them return from shift drenched with water or with flour in their hair.

Lee and I went to OSSO orphanage to play carnival on March 4th. The orphanage Director, Jackie had organized a kinds of fun games for us to participate in. We played musical chairs carnival style, the majority of the chairs either had a water balloon or large bowl of water placed on the seat.

We also played another game with water balloons. Each person grabbed a partner and placed a water balloon between their faces. The rule was that once the water balloon was in place you could not touch it with your hands. Music was turned on and our task was to dance with our partner without dropping the balloon. The last couple to not drop theirs were the winners. For round one Lee and I played. My sister Tahnee playing too in a different group. The little stink would dance with her partner close to us and pinch my behind in an effort to make us drop our balloon. Clever, but endured through and in the end we won the round! Next round Tahnee and I were partners and we used our bodies to bump other couples and we won the second round!

Love it!

Monday we played Carnival at the church with a couple of ward members.

Lee laughing after he splashed Jeovani.



Lee and Mady

And Monday afternoon the ward member went to Jackies house to more carnival games.

Here we are teaching them a game from our childhood. We call it the thimble game, its also known as the category game. This is Tahnee about to splash Angie.

Tahnee laughing as Lee splashes Angie again.

Tuesday afternoon we attacked the volunteers as they came home from shift.

Lee and Anna James.

Lee dragging Jalae out to play.

Lee ruthlessly picking on Madison, Tahnee is pictured laughing on the side.
The aftermath

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Its about time we posted pictures of one of our favorite things to eat. This is a passion fruit called a granadilla. It is native to the Andes mountains. The seeds and pulp are eaten whole, and the cracked skin is discarded. It is delicious.I am excited to share it with my mom when she comes to visit on March 16 and with the Rogers in early May!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

10,000 + Words

As the old Chinese proverb says, a picture is worth a thousand words, so be it true with our blog. Here are some random pictures from the last few months.

Here, 'the boys' gathered to watch the original Tron in anticipation for the new one coming out. Not only could two of the three not stay awake, but the only version of the new Tron available for us to see in theaters was a dubbed one. Needless to say, I still have seen it.

I came home one day to find my wife in a very peculiar circumstance, apparently she was stretching.
We went with some children from the Catholic orphanage to the pool, good times were had by all, and yes we had to wear the mandatory swim caps to get into the pool.

That's me (Lee) in the foreground, barely containing my laughter as my friend Michael, took a couple of minutes to participate in an aquacize class with some very happy older ladies.

A few weeks ago I was asked by Martina to baptize her on her eighth birthday. I was more than happy to ablidge. She very happy was baptized in very cold water, apparently the gas fueling the water heater ran out.

Tahnee, Danika's sister, is down here volunteering and here are the results of a photo op we had at our favorite restaurant.

I am sure that if I had disappeared without a trace, this picture could have given clues as to how I met my fate.

Fortunately it was just a sweet girl wielding a sock puppet... phew.

I too got my own and joined in the fun.

A tradition of burning a life-size doll for New Year's, symbolizing leaving the old man behind and starting anew, also let to some fun stunts. (I was not harmed in the taking of this photograph)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My hermana Tahnee is here in Cuenca!

December 31st 2010 we arrived at the airport with the Roseros to greet the new group of volunteers, which include my sister Tahnee. She will be serving here as a long term volunteer thru March 25th 2011.

This is a photo of Lorena Rosero and I in the airport, holding each other for warmth. We had been staying by the exit door that kept opening and blasting us with cold air.

Our very first site of Tahnee exiting baggage claim (on the far left).

A video Lee took of our embrace :)

New Years eve we burned the "old year" Ecuadorian style. Here we are with the "old year" before we burned it. ( To learn more about this tradition see our old post titled "With New Years just around the corner" posted 12/19/10)

Here's Lee taking his turn to jump over the burning doll.

Later that night Tahnee, Lee and I met up on the balony to watch the illegal fireworks being launched on every corner. It was a way cool sight. From the balcony we could also see the streets lined with small fires where people were burning their "old year" dummies.

Tahnee has been here 3 weeks now and it has been cool to watch her loose herself in this service. She loves it! And we love having her here.

Last week the two of us went for a walk to a museum and took the following pictures:

Saturday, January 8, 2011