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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Overseas Phone Call from Ecuador

Peace Corps Volunteers Aaron and Gina Darty speak with Braddock Elementary School

Peace Corps Volunteers Aaron and Gina Darty speak with Braddock Elementary School.

Ron Tschetter
Hi, I'm Ron Tschetter, Director of the Peace Corps. For more than 45 years the Peace Corps has helped communities around the world. Volunteer Voices is a collection of audio stories from just a few of the more than 182,000 volunteers who have served since 1961. For more information on the Peace Corps, go to peacecorps.gov.
Introduction
Once a year, a few Peace Corps volunteers get to talk by telephone with U.S. classrooms they've been communicating with. We've recorded some of those conversations. Today, Braddock Elementary School in Annandale, Virginia speaks to Aaron and Gina, a married couple serving in Ecuador.
Student
What's the temperature in Ecuador?
Aaron
Well, the temperature, it varies a lot because you can be down on the coast and it can be very hot, almost 100 degrees sometimes. But where we live, we're about 10,500 feet in the Andes Mountains, so it's very cold at times. It's about 65-70 during the day and 40 degrees at night. So there's a big temperature difference according to where you are at in the country.
Student
Is there any time in Ecuador when the temperature is cool?
Gina
Definitely at night and in the morning in the mountains. It gets pretty cold, but even in the mountains during the day sometimes it can heat up really hot.
Aaron
As far as seasons go, they don't really have any seasons like winter and spring. It's mostly just the rainy season and the dry season. Right now, we are in the rainy season.
Student
Does it snow during the winter?
Gina
It doesn't really snow anywhere except for the very tops of the mountains, and people don't live up there. So we can see a lot snow on the mountains, but it doesn't ever snow. Even at 10,000 feet where we are at, we don't get any snow.
Student
What kind of holidays do you celebrate?
Gina
Well, they have a lot of the same ones. We had a program at the school when we did Valentine's Day. Christmas and New Year's are also big holidays. They also have a big holiday in the middle of the summer called Inti Raymi which is a festival celebrating ancient traditions in Ecuador. It's a big part of the year. As well as one that we went to last year called the Fiesta of St. Peter and St. Paul and that went on for almost the whole summer. It was a big holiday!
Student
What's your favorite food there?
Aaron
I think my favorite food here is probably llapingachos and that is a fried potato pancake. It is a specialty that they make in the mountains.
Gina
I really like fish on the coast. It's really good and fresh. When we go to visit the coast, it's a nice treat. We eat a lot of rice, potatoes, and beans where we live, so it's always nice to have something a little different.
Student
What kind of ice cream do you have in Ecuador?
Gina
Really good ice cream in Ecuador!
Aaron
We've got so many different kinds of ice cream. Every little town has its own specialty. In Ibarra, which is the closest city to us, they make helados de paila which is kind of a sorbet that they make in a big copper kettle. It's really, really good.
Student
You said there is popular fruit in Ecuador. I want to ask if it tastes good.
Gina
Yeah, a lot of them are kind of sour. They are sweet. When they make juice with them they will add sugar. Lots of fun things with weird seeds and funny shapes. They are all usually pretty tasty.
Aaron
We have Maracuy√° which is what they call passion fruit. Then there a lot of fruits that you can't even get in the States. I've never seen there, like naranjilla which is sort of a citrusy thing and guan√°bana, which is my favorite. I think it's most related to sour sop, but I have never seen that in the United States anyways.
Gina
The one I like it looks like a big pea pod and inside looks like balls of cotton. So it's really funny looking, but it is kinda good to eat. A lot of people like it. It is called guava.
Aaron
I usually get up around 6:30.
Student
When is your dismissal?
Aaron
Well, that depends. They are very flexible with their schedule, so sometimes the dismissal is at 1:00, but it can be anywhere from around 11:30 to 1:00.
Gina
So the school day is pretty short.
Student
What do people wear to school?
Aaron
The elementary school, they wear uniforms with tan pants and red sweaters. Unless they wear the traditional native clothing which is really ornate hand-embroidered dresses and shirts with gold beads.
Gina
In the high school they wear the uniforms too, but they are blue and grey.
Student
What do the kids do at recess?
Aaron
Most of them like to play volleyball in my school. They have a net set up in the middle of the courtyard and they play volleyball. They also like to play marbles. They have a good time playing marbles.
Close
Thanks for listening. Are you in a classroom? Do you want stories written just for your class? Enroll in the Correspondenc Match program through Coverdell World Wise Schools. We can connect your class with a Peace Corps volunteer serving in any region of the world. For enrollment and program information visit us online at www.peacecorps.gov/wws/correspond.

About the Author

Aaron and Gina Darty

Aaron and Gina Darty served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Ecuador from 2006 to 2008.