Full Name: Polly Jean Colgan
Home Town: Westport, CT
College and Major: Vanderbilt University, Political Science and Psychology
1. What programs do you run?
I am involved in Children's English, Children's Art, Children's Nutrition, and Small Business Development. (I like children.)
2. If you had to pick one, which is your favorite and why?
I can't pick just one. My two favorite programs are Children's English and Small Business Development. I love Children's English because my kids are for the most part psychos and it entertains me to no end. I can also make them do really funny things in the name of learning (i.e. lie on the floor and use their limbs as clock hands as I shout out times), which also entertains me to no end. Small Business Development, on the other hand, is a great break from the under-10 crowd and it's been really rewarding to see the success of our microfinance project.
3. How did you hear about Manna and what made you want to join?
I heard about Manna as a spring break option at Vanderbilt. After participating in one of these spring break trips as a sophomore, I became pretty involved with Vandy's chapter over the next couple years. I knew I wanted to do something unique and travel-oriented before settling down for a "real job" so Manna seemed like a great option.
4. Is there something from your experience so far that has caught you off guard?
The lack of good coffee within this country. For a place that produces some of the best coffee in the world, you're hard pressed to find a non-instant cup o' joe.
5. How are you finding the burden of living with 9 extra people in the house?
I think it's a bit of a burden, but also a fun addition to the house. While I love all my fellow PDs, it is nice having some new faces and energy around. Plus we are really lucky to have a great group of summer vols (and I'm not just saying that because they might read this) who will watch (and by watch I mean dance and sing along to) Beyonce and old school Usher videos with me. Having to interact with that many more people in the mornings, though, is starting to take its toll... but we all know mornings aren't my strong suit.
6. What is your favorite meal to cook for dinner?
My favorite thing to cook is anything new that I haven't tried cooking before. But my go-to meal would have to be pesto pasta with chicken and roasted red peppers. Yum.
7. Who's more talented Beyonce or Jesus? Explain.
8. Do you have a favorite place to eat or hang out in Sangolqui?
TGIFridays. I sound so uncultured but that buffalo wings, potato skins, mozz stick combo plate is just heaven.
9. Should we get a new dog or cat? Elaborate.
DOG. I can't even begin to explain why dogs are just so much better than cats. I'm pretty upset that we didn't just go to the market and buy one a few months ago... at this point I don't think I'd have it in me to part with a pup just 3 short months from now.
10. What do you think is the best thing you will take away from your experience with Manna?
I think the friendships I've made here are the best thing I'll take away. The experience of living, working, and socializing with such a small group of people creates such a unique bond that I think will last for many years to come.
11. What impact do you hope to leave on Manna?
I hope I can impact the people living in this house to be very wary of the mold and fungus growth on the walls and fruit. It's not okay, guys.
12. What has been your favorite place you've visited in Ecuador as well as in South America? How did the two countries compare to one another? What has impressed you the most about Ecuador? What would you change to better the country?
This is a long question. My favorite place I've visited in Ecuador would probably be Canoa, which is why I'm so excited we're going back this weekend! I also loved our trip to Cotopaxi, and felt very accomplished (and surprised) that I was able to manage the hike to the glacier line - outdoorsy-ness tends not to be my forte. Outside of Ecuador, Buenos Aires is definitely my favorite place I've visited in South America. The steak alone really just made the trip. Argentina and Ecuador are such different places, and almost impossible to compare. From the one little bit of Argentina that I was able to see, I found it much more cosmopolitan than most of Ecuador.
One of the things that has impressed me most about Ecuador is the natural beauty. Everywhere I've been - passing through the Andes, spotting snow-capped volcanoes, swimming in the ocean or sunbathing on the sprawling beaches, overlooking a river in the jungle - I've been struck by how beautiful my surroundings are. That's not say it's perfect... in fact, one of the the things I would change to better the country is get rid of the trash and waste that people casually toss anywhere they want. I don't think people in this country necessarily realize how lucky they are to be living in such a beautiful place, and they treat their surroundings as if they're nothing special.