IÂ´ve been a but lazy about posting, so I want to assure everybody that I am in fact still alive, and still in Ecuador.
I finished teaching in mid May, and fortunately the last two months ended up being a great experience. I became comfortable teaching, the students got used to me and my Spanish improved to the point where I could actually run something resembling a class, on top of that I had the 88 coolest students on the planet in my school, which helps.
However, my last week ended the same way my time in the community started - in the rain and with me not knowing what was going on. During this week, while I was administering a test, the caretaker of the school led a ram in and bound the ramÂ´s legs. I figure they were going to shear the animal - nope - they promptly slit its throat and skinned and gutted it. Needless to say, my students found all of this vastly more entertaining than an English test. Turns out, it was for MotherÂ´s Day, and we had only a half day of classes (found that out when I was giving another test, and the director ended the class after 20 minutes) after that, there was a talent show for all the students and then the mothers all played party games, definitely different than anything else IÂ´ve seen in the community.
Other than that, been doing some hiking with other volunteers, which always provides an adventure. 20 minutes into a recent excursion, as I was walking, suddenly one leg completely disappeared into a patch of mud, and the next day we trudged through about 4 hours of mud that was knee deep. After this trip, looking at pictures I realized how pretty the area was, while hiking I didnÂ´t get to see the area because if I looked away from the trail, I was unable to find it again. At variuos points, the 4 of us would walk in a line about 50 meters wide, all trying to once again find the trail.
Another hike brought us to the tourist town of Banos for a night, then we went to a nearby community to access the trailhead. DidnÂ´realize that gringos donÂ´t normally go to Viscaya, because we were the entertainment of the bus. Everybody chatted with us, asked was where weÂ´re from (my friend is Swiss) and also asked us to come and teach English (speaking of which, if anybody is looking for a volunteer oppurtunity, I have the number of somebody looking for an English teacher). We walked to the trailhead with a pack of folks, one of which seemed terrified that weÂ´d get lost and never come back. However, while we did get lost, we did make it back and even hitched a ride with a gentlemen hauling a pig to Banos.
Now I am in the rainforest near Tena for a four day whitewater kayak course. The area is beautiful, and I love kayaking, but it does use strange muscles so I moving a bit oddly.
Then, home in a week.
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