Sorry all for the lack of updates! Things have been pretty busy here the past two weeks. The five of us became friends with Ricky, one of the guys who works on the farm at the convent, along with his older brother, Jim (or Jimbo as we like to call him), who is visiting from Belgium. On Friday the 10th, Kate and the five of us took a bus to Intag to meet up with Ricky and Jim, who were already down there. As we snaked our way up and down mountains during the 2+ hour bus ride, the views outside our windows were truly beautiful. Our destination in Intag was a small lodging complex that boasted piscinas, or thermal pools. The 5+ piscinas were like small swimming pools, each a different size and a different temperature, depending on the natural source of the water from the surrounding area. We spent all of the afternoon and evening in and around the piscinas just talking and relaxing with friends. That night we had intended to camp outside in a tent. However, the campsite was infested with fire ants which, unfortunately, also got into the tent (Jimbo got bitten on the face), so we ended up spending the night huddled together under blankets on the volleyball court. The next morning we all jumped in one of the warm piscinas as soon as it opened to warm up and soothe our bug bites from the night before. We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon around the piscinas and beside the river that flowed next to the complex, before taking the last bus back to Otavalo.
These past two weeks have been a struggle for many of us health-wise with flus and ear infections (who knew you were only supposed to stay in the piscinas for 45 minutes at a time?), but thankfully, we are all healthy once again. For the past three weeks we have been walking to Araque, about a 45-minute walk from the orphanage, to have discussions with the women who work in the daycare center there. Each discussion has been focused on a different topic (sanitation, nutrition, sexual education), and we had our last discussion Thursday with the women on HIV/AIDS. The night before each discussion we prepare the information we will present and also prepare visual charts and diagrams that we can use while we’re talking, and that the women can keep to use with the children in the daycare center. The information we present is very basic, covering the foundations of each topic, but we feel the women have gained some knowledge they didn’t know before from each discussion. It was always interesting to hear the questions from the 2-5 women present during the discussion, and just be able to engage in a discussion about different health topics.
Last Friday the kids had off from school, so the Padre suggested we all go to Peguche to see the waterfalls there. We walked with the kids through a beautiful park with stone paths to the main waterfall, and then headed to the piscina in the park. Many of the kids and even Faima jumped into the piscina, clothes and all. It wasn’t very warm outside so when they all finally crawled out, we loaded back into the vans so they could get back to the house to dry off and warm up. Sunday was Father’s Day (in the US and Ecuador), so the Padge chose to bring all the kids to a lake that is about an hour and a half drive away from San Pablo. We spent most of the time sitting at outdoor tables at a restaurant, picking meat from fresh-caught tilapia cooked in their outdoor oven and served whole. Mmmm mmmm mmmm.
The last week of our project is pretty jammed-packed so stayed tuned! Thanks so much for reading.