This is the second story from the latest El Clima by PCV Erin Bohler on how volunteers in different part of the country live.
The Coast, Melissa Gonzalez
The Sierra, Kristin Farr
The Amazon, Noah Smith
What foods are typical in your region?
MG: Typical dishes in Las Gilces contain crops from the community and freshly-caught seafood prepared right from the ocean, including ceviche, viche, shrimp, fish, or crab, served with a side of rice, fried or sweet plantains, and salad. Farmers in Las Gilces typically harvest rice, corn, melon, onion, tomato, peppers, and coco- nut, and fisherman capture sardine, shrimp, or crabs, which are common in typi- cal dishes.
KF: Platos típicos still include your traditional Sierran fare like arroz, papas, pollo/chancho and of course a sopa. Quito, however, is a city of plenty, so ceviche and encocado, to real chifa to something more exotic like a legit American burger or sand- wich can be enjoyed on a PC budget.
NS: As far as food, there is a lot platano and yuca in this region. We like our empanadas de verde. I have heard in some other towns of the province some Ecuadorians eat frogs and ants (depending on the season).
Do you shop for food? If you do, where do you go to buy it?
MG: There is an early morning Sunday market a few towns over from Las Gilces that sells fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, cheese, and other items. In Portoviejo, an hour away, there are a couple of gro- cery stores for packaged items. Community mem- bers are also very generous and frequently give me fresh fruits and vegetables from their gardens, as well as eggs, freshly-caught fish, shrimp, and crabs.
KF: We love looking up recipes we’ve never tried and shopping for those ingredients. The bulk of our shopping is done at Supermaxi because they can’t charge us the precio gringo. We’ll supplement some items at the tienda (mostly just Pilsener and eggs.)
NS: I shop for food at the local daily market or at the large community market that takes place on Sun-days, but if I need some- thing special I often have to travel to Loja (three hours away) if I want to get it.
What do people in your area do on Sunday?
MG: On Sunday, many people go to the market early in the morning and then come home to spend time with the family. They also finish up some house-hold chores or play sports. The youth of the commu- nity hang out with their friends and go to the beach or play sports.
MG: There are no piedras de lavar at my site. The majority of people wash by hand in round bins called tinas. A few people have their own washing ma- chines, but even so, they wash the clothes by hand first and then throw it into the washing machine to make sure the clothes are extra clean.
KF: On Sundays, crowds of people fill the malls to shop or watch a movie, play fútbol in one of the many parks, go to church, ride their bikes on the Ciclo Paseo, or do what we do: stay at home and watch pirated DVDs while making artesanía reciclada.
NS: Sundays are pretty lazy days. Stores open late and restaurants are only open for lunch. Most peo- ple don’t work and hang out with their families. The main event is the regional market that takes place in Yantzaza. On Sunday, I do laundry, take a run, and plan for the week.
How do you wash your clothes?
MG: There are no piedras de lavar at my site. The majority of people wash by hand in round bins called tinas. A few people have their own washing machines, but even so, they wash the clothes by hand first and then throw it into the washing machine to make sure the clothes are extra clean.
KF: I wash my clothes in a washer and dryer.
NS: I, and almost every- one else in Yantzaza, wash clothes by hand on a piedra in my building that I share with my neighbors. It’s a lot of work.