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Published: July 25th 2008
I am back in Quito now after a great last week in the Jungle. I will start off this blog from where I left off last weekend. We spent the night in Tena last Friday and explored Tena all Saturday. I went shopping with my friend Pam who is am American that is studying International Development at University of Pitt and she is teaching English in Chicico Rumi for the summer. It was her 25th Birthday on Tuesday so when we were in Tena we went to the market to get the supplies to make pancakes for everyone. There was so much to look at walking along the streets in Tena and at the market. There were tons of people trying to sell junk and many road side stands selling fish and chickens and Ecuadorian meals such as roasted plantains. We even passed a meat market that had a whole cows head in the window- maybe to entice people to buy their fresh beef?
That night we traveled back to Chicicorumi and some of the people in the group took this traditional drink called Iowaska (I’m not sure on the spelling) but they take it in complete darkness and it makes
you hallucinate. I didn’t try it because they said that some people can have bad hallucinations or it can make you very sick and I didn’t want to risk it. But it was interesting to hear what the other people saw.
The next morning we got up early and made yummy pancakes for everyone with fresh strawberries, kiwi, banana and raspberries. Everyone was so happy to have a good American breakfast, a nice break from the traditional Ecuadorian breakfasts such as fried dough that they think are pancakes, or a corn tamale for breakfast (which I actually really liked!) After breakfast we took the boat taxi up the river to the small town of Misualli. Just outside the town was a waterfall that we had to hike along a very muddy, slippery trail to get to, but it was well worth the hike. We got to go behind part of the waterfall and jump off a small cliff. A nice way to spend the afternoon. That night after dinner we played basketball against the locals and it was so fun! I was terrible because I was laughing the whole time.
The next day we began in on our project again.
But this week we worked on building a chicken coop for the community. It was really hard work mixing cement, hauling bricks long distances, building walls, nailing in wood sides and putting up fencing. However, after three days of hard work we finished and the last day they bought baby chickens and let them lose in the coop. It was so rewarding to see our project from start to finish and a lot of people from the community came to see the chickens let lose and then after they cooked us a thank you lunch- as I predicted- chicken soup as a starter followed by rice and chicken. Needless to say I did not eat it and I have been a vegetarian for the whole trip so far.
On Monday night we had a beach bonfire and roasted marshmallows to make s’mores since the English people had never had them before. Then on Tuesday night it was Pam’s birthday so we got her a cake in Tena and decorated the bar down the street with streamers and balloons and had a little surprise party for her. She was so happy and I think the locals really enjoyed it to because
we got them to join in with us dancing!
Thankfully this week we didn’t have to haul sand in the afternoons but instead we worked on making costumes for our farewell ceremony. We had to collect these giant palm branches and then dry the leaves and then tie them together to make a grass skirt. We also learned a tradition Kichuwa dance and made up one of our own to the Macarena to perform for them the last night. They put on a little ceremony for us, were some of the leaders from the community spoke and thanked us. Also, our leader Steven spoke in Spanish on our behalf thanking them as well for their hospitality. Then we performed our dances and they performed one for us and then we had a feast of rice, yucca and Tilapia grilled in palm leaves.
That night we packed up and slept in the jungle for the last time- I was sad to be leaving, especially because I loved the people in the community and the whole experience. But that night we found a cockroach that was about the length of my hand and then in the middle of the night a cockroach
crawled across my entire body and it took me a while to then find it in my sleeping bag and kill it. At that point I was realized it was time to get back to a little more civilization 😊
I'm going to do my best to post pictures, but it takes a while. I'm going to the coast for the next two weeks and I will try to post them before I leave but if not, definitely when I get back! hope all is well and I miss you all!
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