On Wednesday we were lucky enough to enjoy another day at the orphanage. We spent the morning putting on a second layer of paint in the rooms we started yesterday. During our breaks, some soccer and group activities were played.
In the afternoon, we returned to our very activity of spending time with the children who embraced us with smiles and big hugs. Kimmy and Perry played rounds of twister, which they all seemed to really enjoy. Noah, Zac and Mick were great in the soccer match not only keeping the children entertained but exhausting them out too! It was hard to say goodbye at the end of the day as we all wanted to spend more time with them. After dinner, we enjoyed a hilarious session of karaoke. Noah, Zac, Ethan, Jake and Josh did an amazing rendition of the backstreet boys. Skyler, Jamie and Sydney all performed very well together, they really sang everyone’s ears off (literally). Anna and Noah sang an amazing duet and amazed us all with their talent. There were lots of laughs, some Spanish songs we couldn’t sing and some serious talent.
Thursday was when we headed into the Mindo Cloud Forest for an adventure – a Zipline Tour throughout the cloud forest. We took turns flying from tree to tree in the haze of the clouds. Bailey and Perry faced their fears and joined everyone in this adventure. After finishing our ziplining, we all had a local lunch where Emma and Perry said they enjoyed some of the local Ecuadorian dishes. In the afternoon, we drove to our next activity, which was river tubing. The water may have been cold, but we laughed our way down the river with local guides orienting our tubes. Noah, Ethan and Zac had a splashing war which provided some good laughs throughout. Gabby, Kimmy and Mick powered through the water and enjoyed the experience.
Friday our day began with a drive to the Otavalo Market with a few of stops along the way at some great lookouts. Some funny group pictures were taken with local animals as we experienced great views. We spent the morning exploring the market where various Ecuadorian items were bought by the group that were made by the Otavalo community. Some bought sweaters, some bought blankets and some bought a variety of home-décor items. Zac and Noah bought sweaters they loved, Emma, Ethan and Josh bought very comfortable blankets and Skyler, Anna, Jamie and Sydney took some time to do some food shopping. Our afternoon was spent at a local indigenous Indian community where we helped clear a field so crops could be planted. We worked as a team to weed the field and create a proper surface so the crops could be planted. Our shoveling, weeding and hoeing skills were all put to use. After finishing our work, we enjoyed a lunch cooked by some of the locals. Josh, Emma, Noah, Gabby, and Trip Director Julie were even daring enough to try some Guinea Pig. Emma said it tasted like chicken, others disagreed.Tomorrow is our last full day in Quito, which we look forward to spending at the orphanage.
Our final day in Quito was spent at the orphanage. We began our day completing the painting project we started a few days ago. In addition, our gardening skills were also utilized as we cleaned up the volleyball court behind the school by raking and hoeing up the weeds. After lunch, we spent our last afternoon with the kids at the orphanage. We played soccer, colored and continued to nourish the bonds we have formed over the last couple of visits. Everyone felt a sense of comfort at the orphanage and we were all happy to help out in this amazing organization. Anna and Perry were particularly sad to leave and really cherished the connections they made with some of the kids. In the late afternoon, we went up the funicular to get panoramic views of Quito. The day was sunny so the views were particularly spectacular. We are off to Latacunga and are excited to hike Cotopaxi on our way.