In the expat slash retirement world, we try to organize a semi-steady flow of events to get us up out of our rocking chairs and into the social world from time to time. Every so often, Granny (remember her?) puts on a shindig at her house, throws a cover over the 'seement pond' (swimming pool) and the boxed-wine flows.
Then there's the civic events (ie; Symphony concerts), fiestas, and the performances at the Jazz Cafe.
The Expat population is a great source for volunteers. One such example focuses on doggies and kitties. We really don't have a well-organized pet shelter infrastructure here in EC. It's comprised of rag-tag operations barely surviving on donations in waaaaaay over-populated primitive structures. A small group of individuals have taken it upon themselves to launch a spay/neuter program by coordinating Veterinarians willing to provide their services either free of charge or at a large discount, along with knocking on neighborhood doors and setting up spay/neuter clinics at specific sites on specific dates. Donations fund this process. Frequently, they are successful in s/n nearly 60 animals over the course of a weekend.
Shocking reality... Let's say 1 male and 1 female produce 6 puppies. Those 6 puppies may bear or cause to produce 6 more at the age of 1. Those 6 may bear or cause to produce 6 more by the time they are 1 year old. 6 x 6 = 36. 36 x 6 = 216. 216 dogs could be created in just 2 years originating from just ONE un-spayed/un-neutered male and female!!!! LISTEN TO BOB BARKER!!!
How does this connect up with social events? Well, recently a fundraising event was held at the beautiful hacienda Villa San Carlos in Cuenca. It was an evening comprising of a silent auction, live art auction, dinner, and cocktails. Nearly 200 people attended the $20 per plate event called 'Spay-ghetti and No Balls'. Yes, you read correctly!! And, nearly $7,500 was raised which goes a lonnnng ways to providing spaying and neutering services.
Oh, if you want to read more about this organization, just go to their site:
Here's a few photos from the event!
|Besides buying my house, Franny also volunteers in a school of young children with special needs.|
|This was everyone's favorite. A blue-footed booby made out of various metals. It went for over $500.|
|Cheryl and Rex from Colorado, living here now.|
I love Love LOVE the work of Eduardo Vega!! He's a very famous artist who designs pottery, dishes, wall art, murals, etc out of ceramics. I recently went to his studio slash gallery at the top of the hill overlooking Cuenca, known as Turi. Here's a peek for you.
|The front entrance encased by an old stone wall.|
|His house on the right. It overlooks the entire city.|
|Artist hand-painting each and every item.|
|I bought the one on the lower right.|
Passive or Assertive
I get rather tired of people who tell me (or write me) saying 'it's the way it's always been, they're not going to change', 'it's their culture', 'you're a guest, adapt to the way things are done here (right or wrong)', 'only an Ecuadorian can make things change, not you....a foreigner', blah blah blah.
Well, you can either be passive about it, or be assertive. Being passive and letting things ride the way they are will get you....ummm....let's see.....NOTHING. Being assertive (no, I didn't say 'aggressive') MAY actually cause something to happen.
Case in point. Some months ago, I wrote about my experience of being pulled over by the transit cops of the Guayas province. In short, they forced me to fork over $250 in payola to let me go. I wrote about it. Someone noticed it and passed it on to a government agency focusing on eliminating corruption. They contacted me immediately, details were exchanged, I identified the jerks from photos they sent me...voila....caught!!! Had I done nothing and bought into the mentality regularly conveyed to me, nothing would've happened and those cops would've continued-on, happily bilking people of moolah from their wallets.
More recently, parking 'cops' have been aggressively harassing anyone who stops in front of a 40-unit (one of which I own) apartment building. There's no parking in front of the building, we don't have a parking garage or lot, and there's no other option but to pull over to the side of the road, put on the flashers, and load/unload quickly. It's a one-way street with 2 lanes, therefore only one lane is partially blocked, temporarily. Taxi's were harassed. Trucks delivering tanks of gas (for cooking, heating, hot water) were harassed. Furniture deliveries, too. Even a friend of mine, who lives in the complex, received a $100 fine because they stopped just to unload their groceries onto the sidewalk!!
So, one evening I fired off an email to the Mayor. Long after office hours, I received a reply from him...no, not an automated reply thanking me for writing and they would respond within XX hours...but a response informing me my email was being forwarded to the head of the parking agency. Late that same night, I heard from the parking agency asking for my phone # so they could call me and discuss the matter. A few days later, I got a call. They wanted to meet me. I arranged to meet at another location at 12pm today. They showed up AT 12pm on the dot....the head of the agency, along with a parking enforcer who spoke English, and another man.
Long story not as long....they agreed to allow 10 minute parking in front of the building to allow for loading/unloading without being hassled or fined.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained....as they say.
Seen Around the Clock
- When I came home one day, 2 kids with their bikes were sitting with a small young dog...my neighbors dog. They saw that it was outside and didn't know who it belong to, so they waited for someone who might come by and know where the dog lived. I thanked them and off they went happy the dog was going to be okay. I took it to my neighbors house, where it had escaped in-between the time the driveway gate opened and closed.
- Some sort of safe driving campaign was underway awhile ago. Downtown they had 'lifeguard stations' (those wood structures you see on the beach) erected with 'lifeguards' using a megaphone to broadcast do's and don'ts to drivers and pedestrians. On the autopista (our pseudo freeway) young adults dressed either as an Angel or Death were positioned at a stoplight near the mall. The Angel would reward drivers who exhibited good behavior (ie; stopped before the line) and Senor Death scolded those who did not (ie; turned on a red light).
- Street performers are everywhere here. Normally, they take a spot at a busy intersection and entertain drivers while they are stopped for a red light. Usually it's various acts of juggling, or flag twirling, or my favorite guy who bounces a soccer ball on his head and shoulders, it never hitting the ground. They know the timing of the lights, so just before they turn green, they stop, bow, and dash from car to car accepting tips (of the coin kind...not advice!).
- Construction, CONSTRUCTION!! Going on everywhere you look here.
- My pharmacy called to inform me they're having 20% off all prescriptions next Tuesday!
- 8 Expats (myself included) struggling to learn 2nd level Spanish in classes twice a week for 6 weeks. $100
- Yesterday was clear blue skies, no clouds (rare here). Full moon at night. I headed out on another motorcycle adventure....and found it. More on that in a forthcoming blog!! Stay tuned.
|Yes, Gracie....we know you auditioned for the Victrola dog, but they didn't summon you for the callbacks. Now, get outa my blog!!!|
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