Recently I had the opportunity and the honor to go on a three week long medical anthropology research trip in Ecuador along with people from the university I attend (California State University, San Marcos) and an educational institute located in Quito, Ecuador, called Fundación Cimas del Ecuador, or , as we called it for the majority of our time there, Cimas. (If you would like to learn more about the lovely foundation, here is their website.) At the risk of sounding cliche, I can honestly say the trip changed my life, and I’m so humbled by the experiences I had and the things I saw on that journey.
I learned how to live like an Ecuadorian in Quito, figuring out bus routes, taxis, learning about boiling tap water and that aji, a special sauce that was everywhere we went in the country, is one of the best sauces ever, and the United States is missing out. But one thing that stood out to me the most in my three week stay in the country was the sense of community, most importantly the over-arching sense of unity among the people, that is just not seen at such a level in the United States. In this three part series, I will discuss music, ceremonies/rituals, and community, all with their own unique attributes, but with one important, over-arching theme: unity. It was overwhelming to hear about, see, and participate in these communities and how that take care of each other. While not without it’s faults, politics are politics all over the world, there was a wonderful feeling of connection in Ecuador that I wish could be brought here to the United States.
I shall start with one of the most universal forms of communication and community: Music.
Hello to the three people who read this blog!
First off, I’m not dead, life just got incredibly crazy.
I’m a year off from graduating with a BA in Indigenous Anthropology! I am so close to joining the work force, I can just smell the sandy dirt, Gatorade, and sunscreen.
I didn’t mean for this to fall by the wayside, it just happened. This year has been both kind and horrible to me, but hey, what are you going to do? Stop trying? Nope. That’s not really on my radar at the moment. Ironically, all the awful things that have happened to me lately, that could have easily sent me on a downward spiral, have inspired me to keep pushing forward and do well, life is too short, and some opportunities only happen once.
I’m still a bit broken, but I’m on the mend. My friends, family, and teachers have all been wonderful. I consider myself to be very lucky.
If you’re still reading this, thank you. If not, then I say to you “Did you know that there’s a Faceless Old Woman who secretly lives in your home? She’s always there, always right there. No, not there. Not there either. Look, you looking up is just going to make yourself look silly. She’ll just shake her head in disappointment. Don’t do that.”.
(I’ve been re-listening to Welcome To Night Vale, can you tell?)
I’ve said it before, archaeology draws certain types of people, although I don’t think I’ve ever elaborated on that topic. When I say certain types of people, I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just mean that of all the people I have met in my time in the archaeology/anthropology world, there seems to be a quality to all of them that isn’t entirely able to be pin-pointed, but feels familiar, because I feel like I have that quality as well. (Nor am I implying that it is anything that makes us superior to everyone else, because it isn’t. Despite what seems to be a rather popular opinion, we are not all stuck up.) If I were to attempt to describe the quality, it would be pure curiosity. Curiosity about the world, about history, about mankind and how we got to where we are now, how our ancestors lived and died, with a keen interest, specifically, on the day to day life. We’re undeniably curious about humanity and how it connects, both to us and the world at large.
Yarn & Trowel, a blog/webstore/site is run by a good friend and fellow archaeologist of mine, Cheyenne. I’ve known her since January of 2013 and am so lucky to be friends with such a lovely, warm, hard working person. She’s currently selling her knitting creations to raise money for a field school in Ireland she is absolutely dying to go to (And deserves to go, believe me.), so if you’re looking for homemade, good quality knitted items, you should definitely get them from her. She is also planning on doing a blog on knitting and life as an archaeologist, and while I can’t say much now because she’s still launching the site, it is going to be an epic blog. I will also be putting a link to her site on my menu list above so you guys can check it out any time!
(A Cheyenne original, made as a Christmas present to me last year. Super warm and comfy!)