The Jungles of Tena - Day 3

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August 7th 2012
Published: August 14th 2012
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Day 21 : The jungles of Tena Day 3:

Today started pretty much the same as yesterday, except Manoli get up before me, so I was the second one up and about. After a cup of coffee and checkiing out the sunrise and local flora, the rest of the group roused themselves out of bed and we all ate another hearty breakfast. Breakfast this morning was scrambled eggs, french toast with syrup, and a plantain mixture, all of which was quite tasty and filling. Again, we went down and boarded our boats, carrying the water purification kits, medical supplies, and our lunches for the day. Today, instead of going downriver, we went upriver to the other side of Anaconda Island. Unfortunately, there were a couple places going upriver that the water was too shallow for our boats, so we had to pull into shore and walk a ways to meet up with our boats that were pretty much pushed and pulled by the boat guys, then reload and head upriver again. Eventhough we went quite a ways by boat, when we disembarked, we still had to walk quite a ways thru the jungle to get to our first house. As usual, there were several kids there and I sort of took over playing with them while the others in my group did the medical checkups and water purification kit demo. Like yesterday, the kids were all friendly, cute, and energetic, pretty much running me ragged. By the second house, I not only had the kids from that house, but most of the ones from the previous house, and I think even a few from the neighborhood. After getting tired out by them this time, I sat down in the house and soon had about 15 or so little kids sitting down around me to play a "guess which had I have the candy in" game. This pretty much kept them all out of the way of the medical team and water demo so the parents could pay attention.

I guess I haven't mentioned yet how large most of the families are in this remote part of Ecuador. Most parents here seem to have between 6 and 10 children. All of them are not still at home, or at the home, but still there tend to be a lot of kids around, which is fine with me. Just like yesterday, we played some balloon ball, but at one house we spent a lot of time with them picking limes from their trees for me to peel, then squirt the extremely sour juice in my mouth and their mouth. It was fun until one of them had me peel one that wasn't ripe yet. Wow, you think lime juice is sour? Try one that isn't ripe yet! As we progressed to each house, I'd lose a couple of the younger ones, but pick up new kids along the way and at the new house. By the time we finished with the second house, we had several older boys carrying our water purfication kits for us. About 1:30pm or so, we stopped to have lunch in the jungle, consisting of a sandwich, chips, cookies, and water. Since we didn't all want to eat everything, and we again had an extra lunch or two, we shared a lot of stuff with the kids that were part of our entourage. It's pretty impressive to see how easily the kids are willing to share with their siblings and friends. Can imagine all or even many American young children being handed a package of four cookies and willing share them with their friends? Or a bag of chips?

After or third (or was it our fourth) house, it was getting to be after 4pm when we were supposed to meet back up with the boats, so we traipsed thru the jungle for 20 minutes or so until we found them on the "beach" waiting for us. A couple of the folks from the other groups were already in the river, and a couple of our group joined them. I might have enjoyed doing it too, but I kept thinking how miserable it would feel to have sit in the boat soaking wet for the long return trip. We finally convinced everyone to get into the boats and off we went. The trip back wasn't quite so bad, since we were going downriver this time, but we still scraped bottom a couple of places and had to help push our boat over one rocky rapids.

Dinner tonight was good, as usual, and consisted of fried plantain, green beans, and a tasty beef with sauce mixture over rice. After dinner, we did our usual "how did your day go" routine where everyone tells how their day went and what they thought of the experience. Afterwards, we had our evening devotional and then folks started turning in. The water was out again for a while, so I sat up doing this blog and reading for a while. Tomorrow will supposedly be a shorter, different day, as we only have a couple more houses to visit, total. Not sure what we'll do the rest of the day, but we'll see tomorrow.

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