Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Voting, Carnival, Valentine's Day surprise,
As some of you may know, Ecuador has just had their elections where they elected second term Rafael Correa. Through election season, I have learned a lot about the way Ecuador holds its elections. First, and perhaps most interesting, voting is obligatory in Ecador. This means that every citizen 18 and over HAS to vote (16-17 is optional). On voting day (Sunday), everyone must go to the polls in their area. There are tables that are assigned about 300 people by last name and sex. The voter goes to their table and receives four big pieces of paper that have the names and pictures (for those who don't read) of all the candidates. There were about 35 people running for president and just as many (if not more) political parties. The president must receive 51% of the popular vote. If he/she does not recieve 51% of the vote, another election is held in March between the top two candidates. Correa secured 68% of the vote, so another election was not necessary. After you vote you receive a card that states the year and that you completed your duty. Voting means chosing someting for every option; you can't leave anything blank. This voting card you need for everything. If you want to buy a car, open a bank account, etc. the tellers have to ask for your cedula (ID) and your voting card. I find this fascinating.
On Valentine's day I stayed home from training because I was still pretty sick. At about 11:30 p.m. I woke up to use the bathroom. I had a pretty bad headache and was falling back asleep when I heard this music getting louder and louder. I was pretty confused because everyone was sleeping when I got up. The music got so loud I thought, "What the heck is going on?" I remembered, my host dad has a music group. Then I had the thought, "Why are they practicing so late?" Pretty confused and a little angry at this point I hear my host mom say, "Go get Emily up!" Prepared for this I wait for my host sister to run into the room. She runs in and tells me to get up. When I ask her what is going on she says something I don't understand. So I get up and I see my host mother and sister standing at the main door. Outside the door is my host dad's group was playing love songs to my host mom (there was still 20 minutes of Valentine's Day left). When I get to the door my host mom says, "Serenade!" (Earlier that night she was telling me that Eric needed to come to my window and serenade me with his ukulele.) I would have prefered the serenade take place at, oh, 9:00? But I guess you don't get to choose a random act of love :)
"Love doesn’t sit there like a stone it has to be made like bread: re-made all the time, made new."