This was a beautiful, sunny day!  Our first trip was to San Lorenzo where we took a hike with a spiritual healer (curandero) named Adán. Today we learned about the Inti Raymi or sun festival. This marks the beginning of the harvest which coincides with the summer solstice.  Part of Chakana celebration is feeling our connection with the parts of the world to the north, south, east and west as well as feeling energy from the earth and sun.

Our next trip was to La Guilena, a family run ecological farm and restaurant.  We learned about the history of Ecuador and the carnival celebration, followed by eating traditional carnival food: fritata, mote, tostada, plátano frito, empanadas and chicha.  We were all invited to make chiguiles which were like mini-tomales, made of corn and cheese, wrapped in a leaf from the corn stalk.  The activity is something people in Ecuador do to celebrate carnival, but they are also seen as a way to bring close friends and family together.  It was great that they shared this with us because they treated us like family.

No carnival would be complete without a proper “cleansing”.  It was a major water fight that went on for about an hour, and we were happy to see everyone was willing to participate in any way they could.  Finally, we got to eat the chiguiles we made earlier while we did our self-reflection.  It’s great that we are still able to make it to so many activities, even though we lost a day from the flight delay.  We are back on schedule!