Ecuador day #5

Day 5   August 24

Written by Denise

Today was an early start at the work site. We were ready to go at 7:00 am. In order to work on the cement and framing, we all had to borrow shovels, picks and wheelbarrows from our host families. When we arrived some of the cement forms were in place and ready for cement. Before any cement was ready to be made, we had to shovel out trenches and ensure that the height of the base was consistent all around the cancha. This meant that we added dirt, measured, took away dirt, re-measured and packed the dirt down to be ready for the placement of the forms.     Some of the forms are made from metal and others are made from what appears to be pallets. The metal forms are held together with large U shaped metal spikes.   Several Interactors assisted the masons with making cement using a large cement maker, sand and gravel. Many, many wheelbarrows of cement were brought to each form surrounding the cancha.

The weather is nice, with some clouds and some sun. The sun is quite deceiving. Although there are clouds and wind, many have sunburns. The wind likes to throw the silt like dust around all the time and manages to find its way behind our safety glasses.

We were taken to a senior’s center for lunch. We were transported in the usual way, 8 people in a small pick up truck. Lorraine and I decided to experience sitting in the box of the truck. What a mistake! The road was very, very dusty! We should have known better, as the work site is extremely dusty.   If Lorraine and I thought our hair was grey now, after the ride, our whole head of hair was grey with dust! For lunch we had soup made from chicken, rice and corn. This was followed by baked chicken, white rice and a salad that had cooked cauliflower, carrots, and raw apples. We were disappointed that there was only one senior at the center. The center seems very new. It had a large meeting room, kitchen and a small exercise area.

Upon returning to the work site after lunch, we realized that there was little work that our whole group could do because there were not enough forms set up for additional cement. We decided that some of the Interactors could use this time to connect with each other as well as find an Internet place to connect back home. Some Interactors went to a local field and played soccer while a few Interactors stayed at the site to assist with the last cement pour.

We are all appreciating our host families. They have graciously opened up their homes to us. Some families have very little, but what little they have, they willingly share. We are all well fed, well looked after and we can’t say enough about their hospitality.

We look forward to meeting some Rotarian in Quito tomorrow. Our bus will pick us up 5:00 am

DSCN0172(the commute to and from work site)

2015-08-24 Filling trench(filling trench)


2015-08-24 Foreman(Foreman)

2015-08-24 Sierra with tamping instrument(tamping instrument)

2015-08-24 Students deep in ditch (students deep in ditch)2015-08-24 Svetlana the wheelbarrow machine(helping with the wheelbarrow)

Ecuador day #4

Interact Ecuador 2015

Day 4

Date August 23

By Stan

Hola Canada!

We have just completed day 4 of our adventure, finishing our first full day on the development of our Cancha in Malchingui.   The day began with a strong serenade of roosters just prior to first light. This came on top of a night of barking dogs and Saturday night fiestas in the neighbourhoods. Nevertheless, our group managed to get to the worksite on time to spend the day scraping the concrete forms clean of old concrete and digging out the foundations for the Cancha walls. We are all feeling the effects of the elevation as we are at 9000 feet and the oxygen is a little thin. This makes the work seem quite a lot harder than it would in Castlegar, but the group managed well. The climate is very dry and we are all feeling the need to drink a lot of water to keep hydrated and energetic.

Our group had the opportunity to see a funeral procession pass by our work site as the family carried the coffin to the local cemetery. Our curiosity of the funeral march was matched by the funeral goers who were likely wondering what was going on with the large group of Gringos in their purple work shirts in the middle of a hot dusty field.

Many local Malchingui residents stopped by the site throughout the day and introduced themselves and brought bananas, mandarins, and water for the group. Miss Malchingui also paid us a visit and brought a large container of fresh squeezed orange juice for all of us. The variety and quantity of fresh local fruit appears unlimited (so many delicious fruits I have never seen before) and the treats were appreciated by all. We also had visits from countless dogs, chickens, and a colourful group of piglets. The farm animals in the community definitely provide a new definition for “free range”.

Tonight our group will converge on a local community hall for a project initiation celebration.   We are all curious as to the event and the festivities that will be part of the evening. We have an early 7 a.m. start at the project to pour concrete, so the evening may have to be cut a little shorter to give everyone enough rest for the morning start.

Finally, a few words on the hospitality and safety in Malchingui. Our group definitely is feeling that the community and host families are doing a great deal to make our stay comfortable and safe. The food is very good and everything appears to come from the local farms and family gardens. I have to laugh when the boys are complaining that the host families are feeding them too much! The community is safe and the local residents continually look out for one another. Many host families are clustered near each-other, although a couple of groups are staying on a few outlying farms in the community. All locations have a spectacular view of Cotopaxi and Quito’s lights in the distance. I will be spending some night hours searching for the Southern Cross in the night sky in the coming days.

Looking forward to another productive day on the project tomorrow morning! Stay tuned…

IMG_2168  (Before picture of work site)IMG_2169  (Scraping cement off the forms)IMG_2170  (Scraping cement)IMG_2171 (Miss Malchingui visited the work site)

Ecuador day #3

Interact Ecuador2015

Day 3

Date August, 23

By Ali

Today we left Quito and made our way to Malchingui. On our way we had a good view of Cotopaxi which is the volcano that began erupting last Friday (50 km from Quito). As we were arriving into Malchingui the bus started making an awful noise. Shortly after the bus stopped and the driver informed us that it had over heated and it was as far as we were going to get by bus. So we all piled out with our suitcases and started walking up to the church. Although the walk up to the church was only about 5 blocks uphill some of us felt the effects of the high altitude and took a while to get up the hill. We met our host families in a community center. We were given an introduction to our host families then all went our own ways to see their houses. After we had all settled in we had lunch with our families. Afterwards my host family took Alex and me to watch a soccer game where we met up with Eric, Phil, Svetlana and Sierra. It was nice being able to spend some time with parts of the group. Later they took all of us that were watching the game to go play Ecuaball which is kind of like volleyball but the net is really high up and we used a soccer ball. After Ecuaball we played soccer then all returned home for dinner and to shower. Later that night some friends of my host family stopped by to visit where we struggled to make conversation but we have gotten better at charades since we got here. Our work day starts tomorrow and it will be interesting to see how the project progresses.

IMG_2167 (Interact group walking with their suitcases)

Ecuador day #1 & 2

Interact Ecuador 2015

Day 1&2

Written by Sophie

Our past two days have been quite busy. All our flights went really well with minimal hiccups. Our only issue happened before we even left; because of our double middle names Jillian and I had some inconsistencies in our name on the reservation and our name on our passports. We got it sorted out quickly though and were on our way.

We all did our best to celebrate Phil’s birthday and the captain even wished him a happy birthday on one of our flights. We arrived in Quito at a little before 1am. We all went to bed right away.

Since we arrived in Quito in the dark we hadn’t gotten to appreciate how beautiful the city is. When we woke up we were all surprised how the city goes beyond as far as we could see. From the university where we spent most of our day there is a great view of the city and especially of the volcano Cotopaxi that erupted last week. As we were watching there was another eruption, the first in a week.

At the university we received lectures on biodiversity, history, and culture in Ecuador. They were all very interesting but we were all a little too tired to pay our fullest attention. Afterwards we were served a traditional Ecuadorian soup for lunch. The soup was made of cream, cheese, and potatoes. We also had the choice to put avocado, corn nuts and pinto bean hot sauce on top. It was really delicious and we all finished it quickly. When the Rotarians heard that it was Phil’s birthday the day before, they insisted that we complete an Ecuadorian birthday tradition of shoving the person’s face in their birthday cake. They went and got a cake and after singing happy birthday in both Spanish and English he got his face pushed into it.

We then returned to the hotel for a bit of quiet time before we went downtown for dinner. A 45 minute bus ride from our hotel took us to a restaurant up high on a hill in downtown “old Quito”.. It had a beautiful view of that part of the city as well as a cathedral and a large Virgin Mary statue. The whole menu was in Spanish though so a few people ended up with one thing when they thought they had ordered another.

The bus took us afterwards to a part of downtown that’s good for walking around in. We had been told by the Rotarians that there were some protests being put on by indigenous people against the president, Raphael Correa. So once we got there it took us a while to get somewhere where we could actually walk because many of the streets were blocked off by police and army personnel. We saw some cool shops and lots of people along a street called La Ronda.

We were about to get back on the bus when we heard loud music coming from down one street; we decided to check it out. Once we got down to the square we saw that we had found the protest. There were people waving flags, selling food and dancing to the music. If it hadn’t been for the hundreds of law enforcement we may not have even notice that it was a protest. When we saw busloads of more army people coming in we decided to go back.

Once back at hotel we spent an hour socializing before bed. We decided to be asleep by 11 so that we could get up for our early drive to Malchingui.

IMG_4117 (this is a picture of Cotopaxi)

2015-08-20 First night in Quito(first night in Quito)

Phil 16th birthday traditional cake in the face (Phil’s 16th Birthday)