Buenos Tardes! We’ve had such an incredible week, starting with service in Latacunga, to a jungle respite in the Amazon rainforest, and a relaxing time in the spa town of Banos.
The trip members were welcomed in Latacunga by Marina, the matron of the bed and breakfast where we were staying. Our group enjoyed conversations, games of Mafia around the wood stove, jogs around the gardens, and visits to Marina’s pet alpacas. We even hosted a bonfire for our friends in the other Westcoast group who were staying nearby and enjoyed sharing an evening with them roasting s’mores and thanks to Leni, stargazing at the incredible Southern Hemispheric constellations!
Our service in Latacunga was to beautify the community school which houses, but struggles to support, hundreds of indigenous students. The trip members were asked to paint murals on the walls of the ball court and worked in small groups to plan out their masterpieces. Shira and Alana excelled on their painting of an avocado, the pseudo mascot of our group, while others designed a beautiful Ecuadorian flag mural. All in all, the school was much more colorful and bright after our group of twelve artists left.
After Latacunga, we made the exciting adventure to our ecolodge in the Amazon rainforest. The group was so eager to experience both an ecosystem and culture which they had never seen before. We completely unplugged there as well, prompting Jonah to comment, “My favorite part was the seclusion from the real world, especially being off of social media.” From a jungle hike, to a waterfall swim, and to bird and bug watching, the group took full advantage of the adventurous aspects of the rainforest. Jayden happily said, “My favorite part was tubing in the river and the view from my room of the river and jungle.” What really served as the highlight though, was each trip members fully immersing themselves in Amazonian cultural experiences. From getting to know indigenous students we learned about blowguns, pottery, cheecha making and took part in a chocolate making demonstrations with fresh cacao! Overall, the group had an incredible time gaining an appreciation for a style of life, so different from their own. “My favorite part was getting to know the indigenous kids, because for me, it’s always about the kids”, said Gillian.
Currently the group is enjoying their time at a spa in Banos before we begin to make our way to the Galapagos! Hasta Luego!
The Westcoast Blogger