Interact Ecuador 2015
Day 7 – August 26
Our second day off started with the usual breakfast at our host families, and then we all met up again in the same place as yesterday, four corners at 8:30 am this morning where the bus picked us up. We visited an agricultural farm where we learned about how they grow their crops; all organic. At this farm we met Michaela from New York and Sierra from Boston. We also learned a few more vegetables that we don’t have in North America, like tree tomatoes. The group tried peppers that were ready to be eaten….although some peppers were extremely spicy. Unfortunately, Eric and Noah didn’t take any precautions and stuck the whole pepper in their mouths. They looked in pain for hours (and Noah the whole day). Then after some touring around the farm, we got to show off our weed picking skills to help on the farm a bit.
We got back on the bus, and headed to a café where we enjoyed coffee or hot chocolate, biscottis and cheese sticks. In the café, there was a small store where everybody bought bunches of candy. Everyone seems to be enjoying the sweets here. After a quick stop, we got back on the bus and are now headed to San Clemente. San Clemente is high on the mountain overlooking a beautiful city called Ibarra.
When we got to San Clemente we met up with some of the indigenous people who made us our huge lunch (still not used to the fact that here their lunch is like our dinner) which consisted of chicken, salads, soup and a few other things. After our lunch we took a look at some hand crafted items some women made. We met another girl, named Eileen and she is from Berlin. Her and Phil both had a little conversation in German. Then Manuel (the Indigenous Centre leader) presented to us on the Andean culture and the relationship between the sky, the earth as well as under the earth. We also learned about two calendars; the lunar and the sun (Gregorian). Manuel explained the sundial and the seasons. The sundial is now out by one month due to global warming. Eric and Svetlana wore customes used to celebrate June 21st ((their biggest day of the year). These customes controlled people to be happy and dance or be whipped. Svetlana and Eric both wore samara pants and a mask, as well they wore a shell and horn over their neck.
We were then introduced to our host Families and we decided how to split up the groups (some of us ended up splitting from our buddies). We had dinner at our host families which was really good I thought. The amount of soup we have had has been overwhelming for some of us though. Later that night though we were up for some fun with the indigenous families. We got really excited (especially the girls) when we found out our host families had some traditional clothing for us to wear. At 8pm sharp, we started enjoying some Andean music and started dancing together. At the end of the celebration, Tia, Kyle, Wren, Svetlana as well Stan sang a couple songs in Russian for the group. We finished at 9:30, and then went back to spend the rest of the night with our host families.