Our Ecuadorian adventure continues as we explore more of what the beautiful city of Quito has to offer. Our fourth day began with a second trip to the Fundacion Alinambi orphanage. Similar to our first day, we kicked off the morning with three different service projects. Jane, Lauren S., Sami and Lila worked hard weeding in the greenhouse to prepare the soil for planting strawberries. Lexi, Lucy, Carly, Marlee, Renee and Maya baked a delicious cake that was offered to the children at lunchtime. Finally, Hannah, Caroline T., Cameron and Caroline B. sanded the interior and exterior of a building to prepare it for a fresh coat of paint. Once sanding was complete, Stevie, Tamzen and Lauren G. motivated the group by launching a dance party to Shakira’s “Waka Waka” where we taught some of the children new dance moves.
After service and our dance party, we worked up an appetite and ate a delicious lunch prepared by the orphanage. Caroline B. and Lila provided some lunchtime entertainment by leading the group in a Disney channel sing-along. We then ended lunch by enjoying a delicious dessert created by Sami. The treat consists of a mixture of popcorn, Nutella and Dulce de Leche caramel sauce. This delicacy has quickly become a trip favorite!
We continued our day at the orphanage by playing a few games with the children. With some input from the group, Marc, Mason, Michael and Max did an excellent job of organizing the entire afternoon. The fun started with a game of Statues where Zach made friends with a young boy who could freeze for longer than any of us. Tamzen then amused the kids by taking the lead in a round of “Who’s Got the Beat.” We then finished the day by distributing the chalk that Michael brought as a donation to the orphanage. Lauren S. had her body traced by the kids as the rest of the children decorated the pavement in colorful designs. The chalk was definitely the hit of the day! On our way back to the hotel, the group stopped at a local mall to bowl where Jane and Lauren G. impressed us all with their skills.
The following day we had our first adventure activities. We started off with a morning of zip lining through a cloud forest. Renee, Caroline T., Caroline B. and Jessie overcame their fears and zip lined through the trees like pros while Sami and Lauren G. captured all of the fast paced action on their Go Pro cameras. Overall, we were all amazed by the beautiful mountains and breathtaking scenery in the distance. Afterwards, the group enjoyed a fun filled afternoon of river tubing. In small groups, we sat in tubes that were tied together and we were then led down the river with the assistance of a guide. While everyone loved the experience, Zach and Lucy felt this activity was the highlight of the trip so far. To end our day, we returned to the hotel and played a game of Celebrity Slapdown. Trip members wrote down the names of various famous people and the group then had to guess the characters through a mixture of charades, catch phrase and taboo. Lauren S. and Lila were the champions of the evening.
Our sixth day in Quito began with a trip to the Otovalo market. Trip members had the opportunity to walk around and purchase locally made products including bags, jewelry and clothing. Many members of the group bought alpaca sweaters and hats in preparation for our climb up Cotapaxi. Cameron, Jane, Caroline B., Hannah, Marlee, Jessie and Caroline T. all purchased matching tie-dye pants! Our group is definitely representing the local apparel! In the afternoon, we visited an aboriginal community. We were welcomed by a local band and enjoyed a traditional meal. We also enjoyed a drink of chicha, a beverage of fermented corn. Many courageous trip members including Lauren G., Zach and Marc also tried guinea pig, a food considered to be an Ecuadorian delicacy. We were very impressed with how adventurous the group was! After lunch, we watched a traditional dance and then learned a few dance moves as well. Hannah, Carly and Lauren S. stole the show as they danced in the middle of the circle with some of the aboriginal dancers.
We are now almost a week into our trip and we are truly having the time of our lives! While the trip is flying by, we feel as if we have known each other forever. Soon, we will be saying goodbye to Quito and Hola to what awaits us in Latacunga!
The Westcoast Blogger