We are a family that currently resides in Central Oregon, on a small farm. Shari is 48 years young and works as a Natural Resource Specialist in the field of Solid Waste (Waste Prevention, Recycling, Composting). She enjoys music, reading, outdoor activities and sustainable living. Andy is 53 years young and works as a photographer, doing both free-lance work and as a photo-tech at COSTCO. He is also a person of many trades and skills, from car repair to cooking. He is an incredible guitar player and musician. Ansley is 14, and attends Cascades Academy of Central Oregon as a ninth grader. She loves to read, loves art, loves cats, and plays violin. Marleigh is 8, and attends Cascades Academy of Central Oregon as a third grader. She loves to read, loves to play with her toys, loves her cats and plays violin.
Last year, the Dunning family embarked on a 3-week adventure to Guatemala. We spent 1-week at a language school (Sakribal) in Quetzaltenango and two weeks learning what we could about this amazing country. It was a humbling and remarkable experience and left us wanting to help, as a family, in some region of Latin America, for an extended period of time.
So - this January through April 2010, the Dunnings will be taking a leave from work and formal schooling, to travel/volunteer in South America (Ecuador and Peru). Please join us as we work on gathering our funds and supplies, conducting research on Ecuador and Peru, learn about pre-travel plans, set up our itinerary, and 'set sail' on our journey. We welcome all positive thoughts, ideas, suggestions, recommendations and stories.
La Familia Dunning
July 22nd 2011
I keep trying to close out this travel blog, but as there are still some subscribers to the blog, I thought it pertinent to give an update on Andy's book. Andy has put together an absolutely beautiful photography book, called "Southern Exposures". It highlights our family volunteer experience in Ecuador and Peru and is an excellent companion to my upcoming book: "An Egg and A Cigarette: Tales of a Family's Volunteering in Ecuador and Peru". He's barely marked up the book above his costs -- it's not cheap to put out a quality photography book. You can preview several pages of the book -- and if you're interested in making a purchase, the website will guide you through the purchase process. I've included a few of the photographs you'll find in the book. Enjoy!! http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2331946 (sorry, ... read more
July 19th 2011
My book proof came!! "An Egg and a Cigarette: Tales of a Family's Volunteering in Ecuador and Peru" This is very egg-citing indeed! (sorry). What started out as a means to reflect on what our family did in early 2010, turned into a book. I am so very greatful for the opportunity to have done something so special as a family -- and I am equally greatful for all of you who coaxed and coached me along the way to turn it into a book. I enjoy writing. I find it easier to write than to talk -- so it's not surprising that I could lay down 46,000 words. But, the story just out from my heart and it feels good to be able to honor our trip. If you'd like to order a book, I'll ... read more
July 7th 2011
Indeed. It’s hard to believe that well over a year has passed since we returned from our four month family volunteer trip to Ecuador and Peru. When we returned to Oregon, the girls fell back into their school routine, summer time fun, and then another academic year. Andy and I spent the summer months working on our TESOL and TEYL certifications, and then began volunteering teaching English with our local community college. We resumed our lives back at our respective jobs and all was good – but not exactly. Lots of restlessness and thinking about what we had done and what we might like to do in the future. Late last fall, we read about a culture and teaching assistant grant program in Spain. We decided to apply for the North American Culture and Teaching Assistant ... read more
May 2nd 2010
The End…The Beginning…Birthday Greetings I am starting this ending blog while we are in the Lima International Airport. We had a very good last day in Lima…in Peru…in South America. After our traditional instant coffee, hard bread, margarine, mystery marmalade and fruit (the blender broke, so no juice), we headed off for Huaca (temple) Pucllana, which is this adobe structure/temple situated in the center of Miraflores. It was constructed 1,000 years before the Incan Empire. It was ‘discovered’ in 1983 and bit by bit by bit, is being reconstructed. The juxtaposition of this ancient monument with the city skyline of Lima tells volumes of the civilizations in Peru. From there, we took a taxi to a dodgy part of Lima so Ansley could buy some contemporary Latin musica…and of course another copied DVD for S/.3 (about ... read more
April 27th 2010
MACHUPICCHU - WONDER OF THE WORLD - ANCIENT CITADEL - COMPLETE INCA CITY The journey from Cusco to Machupicchu was in itself a wonderful adventure and created quite the build-up to the trip. Indeed at 3:00 pm, a taxi driver named Edgar arrived in a brand new, red Toyota Yaris. We loaded ourselves in (just us!!) and ah-hum….put on seatbelts for the first time since arriving in South America. We know that sounds terribly irresponsible, but la vida aqui es muy diferente como la vida en Los Estados Unidos. Off we went…what a beautiful and rapid ride we had. We passed through interesting towns and in about 2-hours had arrived in the tiny town of Ollantaytambo, located in the Sacred Valley, which is filled with the remains of Incan cities. Again, hopefully the photos of Ollantaytambo ... read more
April 24th 2010
Onward to Cusco - ancient Inca capital From Arequipa, we took the night bus, Cruz del Sur, to Cusco. We splurged for the ‘cama seats’ thinking that we would sleep through the 10-hour bus travel. Hah…with the incredibly windy mountain….dirt road, the bus lurching to and fro and winding all about, it was hard to get comfortable and relax. We arrived at the Cusco bus station at 6 am, at an elevation of 3310 meters, tired and groggy…we knew we were in for a rough day. We thought we had a taxi from the hostel waiting to pick us up, but we saw nobody there waiting for us…as soon as we got into the bus station there were people yelling “taxi, taxi, you need taxi?” and people trying to take our stuff. “No gracias….tenemos un taxi…estamos ... read more
April 18th 2010
Colca, Coca Leaves, Chivay and Condors On the Saturday and Sunday of April 10th and 11th, we took an organized tour to Colca Canyon. The bus picked us up at our hostel at 7:45 am, then proceeded to drive all around el centro, picking up lots of other participants. As we were heading out of Arequipa, the bilingual guide, Peter, told us that Arequipa was situated at 2825 meters high and that at the highest point of the trip, we would reach Pata Pampa pass at 4910 meters high (16,108 feet) before reaching the town of Chivay at 3600 meters. So, he suggested we purchase extra chocolate, socosani water (which is carbonated) and products which contained coca, or coca leaves. In case you didn’t know, coca leaves contain numerous alkaloids, one of which is cocaine and ... read more
April 11th 2010
Arequipa, Semana Santa, mas tiempo en Florea Tristan (Villa Paraiso) We are settling into living in Arequipa and into our volunteer project here. After the first day, I was asked to teach intermediate English to a few of the older boys/teens (around 16 years old). I was asked to teach this group about 5-minutes before classes started. No problema! I was given a pre-intermediate book and found some notes: “pagina sobre fruta” Okay, I guess I can talk about fruit…that shouldn't be too hard... No notebooks, no paper…did manage to find two markers and a white board (WOW!) but nothing to wipe off…No problema! So…we just kind of winged it by talking about things they were interested in and working a lot on pronunciation. Never realized how hard it is to pronounce English words. The following ... read more
March 29th 2010
Onward to Lima and off to Arequipa - “la ciudad blanca” Geez, it seems like I can’t even write in English anymore….I see typos in my writing and I’d like to think it’s the mix of speaking Spanish and English and then forgetting everything that I’m doing…Oh well, leave it to Marleigh to find my spelling errors. So, when I last wrote…we were in the lovely coastal town of Huanchaco. I think we left Huanchaco on March 22nd, early in the morning, catching a local taxi to Trujillo. Waited for the 8:30 am Linea bus departure from Trujillo to Lima. And off we went, for another V-E-R-Y, V-E-R-Y, V-E-R-Y long bus ride….we stopped somewhere for lunch…Everyone on the bus had these huge almuerzos…typical Peruvian meals of soups, chicken, rice, gravy, bottles of wine and beer…we had ... read more
March 22nd 2010
Hola a Peru - Tierra de las civilizaciones antiguas First…the bus ride and the border crossing. We left the city of Loja, Ecuador early in the morning on March 17th. The am street crossing of a 4-lane highway with the 250 luggage wasn’t as bad as we anticipated, and we were glad to get onto the bus and get ourselves settled in for a long day. A couple of hours out from Loja, we stopped for breakfast. It was a cute little town…but there was really nothing for us to eat…or drink…plus we had great fears of being left..so onward, onward, onward through the incredibly windy Pan-American highway…the ups and downs and twists and turns nearly made me nauseous. Finally, after we reached the border town of Mancara, we all got off the bus and first ... read more