Folwell Dunbar

Volunteer: Folwell Dunbar

Bio:

I was a volunteer in Zhumar, Ecuador. There, I culled rogue sheep, raised rainbow trout in earthen ponds, cooked guinea pigs over an open fire, kept “killer” bees, and drank lots of spittle-tainted chicha and kerosene-toxic trago. I'm now doing Peace Corps-like work in my home town of New Orleans. I live two blocks from Desire, a levee away from the river and a hop, skip and a stagger from the French Quarter. 

 

1989 - 1991


Contributions from Folwell Dunbar

  1. Ecuador Ya Mismo with Mingas

    I felt like I had woken up a half an hour before I had gone to sleep. The sun was still slowly drifting across the Atlantic, and stars from both hemispheres illuminated the Andean sky. I crawled off my paja (straw) mattress, threw on a few layers and began my trek.  I had come up with this elaborate (and somewhat loco) scheme to stock a mountain lake with trucha de arco iris or rainbow trout. It would involve transporting delicate fry from a nursery near Cuenca, Ecuador to a little cloud fore...

  2. Ecuador ¡El Gringo Va a Morir!

    It was the last race I ever ran. I had only been at my site for a few months when I decided to enter a 10K in Cuenca, Ecuador. In retrospect, it was a huge mistake. I hadn’t trained since college; my New Orleans lungs were still ill-equipped to extract oxygen from the thin mountain air; and my flatlander muscles could hardly summit a curb less clamber up steep cobblestone mountain roads. Nonetheless, I was, well, Peace Corps confident. Like so many new volunteers, I had set my sights on sav...

  1. Ecuador Amazon Trek

    “¡Dos días, pura bajada, y sequísimo!” The campesinos assured us that our Amazonian trek would take no more than two days. It would be downhill the entire way and, even though it was the rainy season, completely dry. (If only I could have conjured up that telltale chorus from the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song?!) Well, apparently, either 1) they had never taken the trip themselves or 2) they were giddily seeking Atahualpa’s revenge! It took Mike Wooly and me five long, painful days to rea...

  2. Ecuador PC Map Making

    When I visited schools surrounding my site, I was surprised to discover that few of them had maps. (I LOVE geography!) So, we ended up painting them on all the buildings in the parroquia. As a young cartographer though, I am embarrassed to say that I wasn’t always PC. On this particular map of Ecuador for example, I gave back the territory taken by Peru in 1941. I would point out that Ecuador didn’t official recognize Peru’s sovereignty until long after my Peace Corps stint.       

  3. Ecuador Top Grads

    The Spanish introduced sheep to Ecuador in the early 16th century. Nearly 500 years later, the animals there now look nothing like their ancestors. The Andean Criollo sheep are tough yet small. They produce very little meat and the quality of their wool is poor.  I was able to get a grant and purchased 40 purebred Merino from New Zealand. I gave five to each of the eight schools in the Parroqia. I then did a number of classes on small animal husbandry. At the end of the year, the top graduat...

  4. Ecuador Cooking with Vesinos

    As a fresh-out-of-college volunteer, I wasn’t much of a chef. Fortunately, I had neighbors who were. They would periodically come over and give me lessons. They taught me how to prepare guinea pigs, quinoa, locro soup, seco de pollo, lomo salteado and other popular Andean dishes. As you can tell from this picture taken in my kitchen, I was extremely grateful!     

  5. Ecuador Equipo de Sueños

    As a Peace Corps volunteer you often end up taking on “other” assignments. One of mine was coaching the local girl’s basketball team. Here we are with a few younger sibling fans and our mascot, my dog Iko. Note: I named my dog after the famous New Orleans song by The Dixie Cups. As it turns out, it sounds a lot like the Quechua word for dog, allcu. The locals found this funny.       

  6. Ecuador Kids & Cuyes

    Cuyes or guinea pigs make for great pets. In Ecuador though, they're also considered a delicacy. Buen provecho!   

  7. Ecuador Niños & Ovejas

    Delivering sheep to the children of Pinjuma

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.