Interact Ecuador 2015
Day 6 – August, 25
This morning we got a break from working on the cancha, and we finally got a morning to sleep in a bit. We had to meet at 9am at “cuatros esquinas” (“four corners” the name of a central intersection in Malchingui). Our original plan was to head to Quito this morning for a Rotary breakfast meeting with the Quito Equinochio Rotary Club, then go to a daycare center of some sort. Unfortunately, the center was closed today and there was no way for the Quito Rotarians to have it opened so it was decided that we wouldn’t go to Quito today. Instead we were taken to Cochasqui, a pre-Inca ruins site not too far from Malchingui (about a half hour/ 45 minute drive).
Upon reaching the ruins, we had to purchase tickets. It’s always such a surprise to see how inexpensive things are here compared to things in Canada. The tickets were only 3 dollars each! We had a Spanish tour guide, and one of the Rotaract students we met this morning did his best to translate for us. It was a really interesting site, as ruins usually are, although much of the ruins were covered by dirt and vegetation in order to keep them in good condition and we could only see the general shape of the temples and buildings. I think most people’s favourite part of the tour was seeing and feeding the large population of 120 llamas and alpacas. Our guide would fill our palms with salt and we would whistle at the llamas until they came towards us and ate the salt out of our hands. They started out kind of shy and skittish but soon they were swarming us and all trying to get at the salt.
After the ruins we were driven to a small community called Tocachi. We were there to see some women and girls who had an arrangement with Rotary to get a small loan so that they could use it to buy supplies for craft embroidery items. After they had made items and started selling, they would begin to pay back the loan with a small interest added on. The idea was that the money would eventually all get paid back and could be used again in the future for other micro-projects. We all bought something (or more than one thing) from the women. There were little finger puppets and scarves and little embroidered pictures and much more. Cecilia, the woman who hosted us for lunch, was so appreciative of us buying so much that she gave everyone one small item for free. We were given a lunch of chicken soup, rice, potatoes, and salad. There is always so much food at meals and the people here are so willing to share all that they have, even when they have very little.
We were back into Malchingui at around 3:30 and after a small group meeting, we had free time to wander around town and socialize before heading back to our host families for the evening. It was a great day and I can’t wait to see what else Ecuador has to offer.