Interact Ecuador 2015
Day 14- September, 2nd
Day 14 almost the end of the trip. All the planning for two years and 18 days seemed like a long time to be in Ecuador and yet it flew by in a flash. This is our last day in Malchingui. I know for me it will be difficult to say goodbye to our hosts, Victor and Suzanna. Last evening the grand daughter and great granddaughter came to the house to say good bye to us. Brittany, the great granddaughter, gave Denise and I each a little stuffy for our departure. It brought tears to my eyes to think they had so little and continued to share with us.
I do have to share about Denise and my adventure last evening. Ledi (pronounced Lady) came running to us all excited asking if we wanted to go for a drive with her family. Well why not, we were not doing anything anyway. Once we were in the car with doors slammed shut Denise and I began to wonder if possibly we had made the correct decision. This car had seen better days. However the dash and window were all decorated in Latino fashion that we see in the movies. Denise asks me where we are going, saying I usually follow everywhere Lorraine but…. I could only respond with I have no idea where we are being taken. The first stop was to a little restaurant which was Ledi’s mom’s. She was so proud to be showing us her business, taking us into the kitchen and just so proud of all she had and worked for. Back into the car for a long drive into the country. Now we really are getting nervous wondering where we were going. We did see a deer running along the road which was interesting. Finally we arrive at a farm house the aunt of Ledi and she is spending the night. On our drive about we did discover that since there are no gas stations in Malchingui one buys gas from a neighbourhood home via jerrycan. After a couple more stops it appeared we were heading home via a back road. Denise and I both notice that the road looks soft and fear we will get stuck. Our fears came true as the car is stuck and all this dust is flying all around us. I was thinking we were going to have to get out and push thinking this is not like snow and the last thing I wanted to do was get out and push. Thankfully our driver was skilled and he got the car out of our jam. Whew.
Today we met at the Cancha….we being the Interact group, the president of Malchingui and his council members, some Rotarians from Quito and all of our host families. Each of us was given a sign with our names on it. We were paired with a child from the community and together we planted a tree and placed our names in front the tree. Each student will be responsible for watering their tree for the coming years. The wind and the dust did not disappoint and was in full force while we were doing our photo ops. We were pleased and honoured when we were shown a large sign stating the park was now named “Castlegar Park”. When we could no longer stand the wind we headed to the community centre for speeches and lunch. This part of the afternoon started with some entertainment from the youth, a little dance routine about the Inca and then the Spanish taking over Ecuador. Next was some group dancing and on to the speeches. The message that was loud and clear was how the community was so impressed with these young people building a cancha in 10 days, a feat they did not think was possible. It was also mentioned how much our hosts enjoyed having us in their homes and there will be many wet tears tomorrow morning as we leave town. The interact club and both Rotary clubs were each given a plaque to take back to our clubs. Finally at about 4 pm a lunch of roasted pig and corn (“mote”) served. Some of us even got a bit of tomato and onion. It was so nice for us to share this day with our families.
I have learnt a few things on this trip. One – if you are sitting outside and there are chickens around be careful where you place your hands or you end up making chicken poop pancakes. Two – The children of this community love visitors from other countries. Three – it is not the size or beauty of a house that makes a home – it is the hearts of the people in the house that makes the home.
And I cannot end this blog without mentioning how proud of the young people I have had the privilege to travel with. They have made such a positive impression in this community as I knew they would.