Ginormous bullet ants. Tarantulas. Mosquitos the size of your hands. Giant flying beetles. A humidity that left us sleepless and heat rashed[Erica is still suffering from this malady, if you can believe it]. Staying in the basement in mattresses on a perceived bug-infested floor. This my friends, is Lita.
Last Friday and Saturday, Team Ecuador treked to Lita with a bus full of Kentucky doctors. Yes, they had accents, yes, they were cool. Though they laughed when we asked if they ate Kentucky fried chicken.
Anyway. Each morning we would clamber into the back of a truck and ride windy and crumbling roads up the mountain to a remote village of indigenous people. Although a bit terrifying at times [Jamie has video to prove it] the area is absolutely beautiful. Very much a jungle with beautiful butterflies, banana trees and the sounds of cicadas abound. We each had various jobs at the clinic the doctors set up. Mandi and Jamie weighed everyone who came through and put it on their charts, Kellie was compiling necessary meds and toothbrushes into take home baggies for the patients, Erica kept track of who came in and out and directed families to open doctors, and Allyssa treked supplies and food for the team up and down the mountain with our pastor host, Washington. There were a lot of heartbreaking cases of widowed 2o year old mothers who couldn´t take care of their children and one man who blew his hands off while fishing with dynamite. Don´t ask.
Other notable mentions about Lita: we pretty much suffocated when we all bug-sprayed the crap out of our beds for fear of waking up with a beetle on our faces. [Trust me, all the locals really built up the bug issue, so we were terrified]. Jamie slipped and fell in the mud multiple times while going up the mountain. Preeeeetttyyy sure she has the record for most falls in the dirt this trip. Erica is surprised because normally she is the biggest klutz. And last but not least, Mandi freaked out when a puppy woke her up one morning. It was a harmless, tiny, little white ball of fluff, people. Needless to say Erica still mocks her to this day for it.
On our way back from Lita we stopped in Otavalo, which has the biggest artesian market in all of Ecuador, if my sources don´t deceive me. We were all afraid to buy something at first, because seriously, in Otavalo once you start buying you don´t stop buying. FYI: Allyssa is a heartless haggler. "Cinco dolares. No mas." Accompanied by a flat out hand motion. That´s a direct quote. Erica also felt like a baller when she got a sweet handpainted item for 8 dollars instead of 14. Who knew?
The church we are living in, "Amigos en Cristo" also had it´s first ever service in English for all of the expatriates living in Ecuador. There was a great turnout, we heard a message from one of the German missionaries here and we sang worship songs. Everyone was really happy to finally here something about Jesus in English. Seriously. There is only so much you can get out of a sermon when you don´t fully speak the language. Unfortunately Erica and Allyssa were sick during this long-awaited for event. They were really bummed, but there is another one in two weeks, so they are eagerly awaiting it.
For the past week or so there has been a giant festival going on with all of the indigenous people celebrating San Juan. We had no idea that this many people even lived in Cotacachi. They are literally coming out of the woodwoork and mountains to celebrate in the town squares. Notable things about this festival: All of the men wear giant furry chaps and large black cardboard cowboy hat-ish-things. Also? They like to dance through the streets. And throw rocks and fruit at each other. You heard me correctly friends, they throw rocks at each other. For fun. Only in Ecuador! It has been really cool to see how other people celebrate and dont worry, we haven´t witnessed any rock throwing, only heard about it from everyone we talk to.
We have still been working with families this week: babysitting, working in restaraunts, cleaning, cooking and sometimes just sitting and watching how the people live here. We all really love the people here. They never hesitate to make us feel like we are family too and have a home in Cotacachi.
We also attend Bible studies three times a week and absolutely love them. Of course, the messages and conversations are all in Spanish. Sometimes we have trouble with Bible references - "wait, was that mateo veinte-cuatro or mateo treinta-cuatro??" But we absolutely love them since they are with the families that we work with during the day a lot of the time.
- pretty much everyone has been sick off and on. Save Mandi and Jamie. How they do it, I have no idea. Kellie, Allysa and Erica have all had their turns at being sick. Wah wah wah.
- Allyssa made BALLER cinnamon rolls from scratch. She will be getting a request for more soon. Trust me.
- Erica and Mandi changed their first diaper today while babysitting. Yes, it is gross. Yes, it smells. But you know what? They were warriors. And they high-fived after. Preettty much an epic moment.
- Mandi and Erica also very [almost] seriously considered buying a baby duck from a guy selling them on the street today. It was just so cute! After weighing the pros and cons, they decided that it probably wouldn´t be very practical to have a baby duck in the church. It also could have rabies. So sadly, they decided against it.
Well that´s all I have for you know, but stay tuned folks, and next week be ready for another exciting adventure with las pollitas americanas in the beautiful country of Ecuador!
"Ya neva know... only in Ecuador."