Interact Ecuador 2015
Day 8 – August, 27
Today our morning started with a large breakfast that included fresh corn tortillas, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit and the best granola many of us have ever eaten. Even with the language barrier, we all formed a connection with our temporary host families that made for a very enjoyable breakfast.
After our delicious breakfast we headed to Bianca’s house to work in a Miinga to complete landscaping around their new hut where local women are going to sell their handmade artisanal products. A Miinga was described to us as a collection of people that work together to complete tasks at hand in a certain time frame but is thought of as more of a social event. While in the Miinga we did things like line a walkway with rocks, weeding and clearing parking spaces of dirt and debris. As usual the people of the village were very impressed with the work ethic of our group and how much we completed in the short two hour time frame. Also Geoff, Stan, Denise and Lorraine were talking to the leader of the village about our club coming back to work on a project specifically in that village. After completing all the work we were again offered corn tortillas with fresh raspberry puree and fresh juice made of tree tomatoes. We believe that the Ecuadorians also follow the logic of killing visitors with delicious food as the Doukhobours in Castlegar do. There wasn’t a moment in Ecuador yet that anyone has had an empty stomach because who could resist delicious food offered constantly? Before leaving the worksite Stan and Noah had the great idea of leaving a mark of Canada at the village. They decided to make an Inuksuk out of spare rocks and bricks at the worksite. The leader of the village, Manuel, was very happy with our Canadian mark and assured us that it would stay there, untouched.
Before heading to Otavalo we stopped at an Andean instrument workshop where there was a live assembly of a pan flute by the owner of the store. Surprisingly the man had it made in less than five minutes. After the assembly his family played a couple songs using the instruments for sale at the shop.
We then boarded the bus to head to Otavalo for the large outdoor market. It was almost overwhelming to many of us how many options we had for alpaca socks, ponchos, blankets and many more handmade products. Before the group headed into the jungle of tents one of the students we met at the organic farm told us to say “Si, perro para llavar”, which roughly translated to: what’s your best price? It was very helpful to many of us because it cut out a large portion of the potential foreign language bargaining process to get the best price for each product. Even with the advantage of the phrase many of us got different prices for things like alpaca socks because we didn’t know what a regular price for these things were. At the end of it all we got back onto the bus with multiple bags of things that we’re very excited to bring back to Canada and show everyone.
On the way back to Malchingui we decided to buy roses for our host families. We stopped at a flower stand, similar to our fruit stands. You won’t believe it, but we bought two dozen beautiful roses, of all different colors, for only $2.00!
To finish off another great day in Ecuador we headed back to our original host families in Malchingui to enjoy dinner with them and share our new experiences through charades and minimal Spanish.