Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Classic culture

Here is a short example of what I mean by Ecuadorian culture:

I had called my friend in Quito on Saturday and we planned to meet on Sunday. He was in a different city at the time but was getting on a bus to come back. On Sunday I went to his apartment at about 10am and there was no answer. His cell phone was off and he wasn't answering his home phone. I wasn't worried yet, but then after about 6 hours of him still not answering his phone I started to get a little worried. I ended up just taking a bus back to Ibarra.

The next day I tried calling him again and still his cell was off and he wasn't answering his home phone. I know bus crashes at night are pretty common so I started to look through the newspapers to see if there was one. There wasn't. So then I was just confused on what happened.

Around 1pm that day I called and his cell phone finally went through. The story: his bus broke down on the way to Quito and they couldn't get another direct bus. So they slept at the terminal, took a bus the next day to a big city called Riobamba and decided to go fishing since they were there. His cell phone just happened to be dead and he didn't want to stop somewhere for 5 minutes to plug it in and call me because that would be inconvenient.

But here is the really crazy part for me: he still has no idea that he should have called/emailed/something since we had plans and I couldn't get a hold of him for over 30 hours. Things like this have happened with other Ecuadorians too. It's really true that if they don't have anything to say to you they aren't going to talk, no matter how much you need to talk to them.

And a lot of WorldTeach volunteers are starting to pick up on this habit. They lose their phones or just simply don't call back. I think this might be my biggest annoyance with Ecuadorian culture so far. There is just such a lack of respect for communication. Drives me nuts! But it's their culture and I can't fight it.

On a side note: I did a class on clothing for my basics the other day. I played them the song "Red High Heels" (country song) and they loved it. They said they really liked country music and want me to play more of it. And they like when I talk in a southern accent. Crazy kids! But it was pretty hilarious watching them sing "Red High Heels" in an Ecua-Southern accent.

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