Quote of the Day: “Preservation of one’s culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” -Cesar Chavez

Hello, our names are Keiana and May and we are the first (student) Leaders of the Day! Our day began with us banging on the doors of our peers. Many were not excited by our appearance and the calls to come to the door to prove they are awake. On the last wake up call, May sang “I DON’T GET NO SLEEP CAUSE OF YALL SO YALL AIN’T GONNA GET NO SLEEP CAUSE OF ME” and of course that was on the boys’ door. After we woke everyone up and they got ready, we met in the courtyard of our beautiful hostel to start off our day. We walked to breakfast at the lovely La Estancia that serves some of the best food that gives us the taste of Ecuadorian cuisine (our main concern is food). Right after breakfast we jumped onto a bus (almost literally) where May lied to the whole group and said we were driving 2 hours to our next destination.

San Lorenzo

After our “two hour” bus drive (35 minutes), we met with Adan Angulo, a well respected healer/cuandero where he taught us that not all medicine comes in pill form and led us in a ritual native to Ecuador. Two lucky students, Fabian and Lilly, got to experience a cleansing ritual to relieve them of emotional, physical, and mental stress. Lilly described her experience as relieving to her soul.

Lunch at La Guilena

We were first welcomed by a donkey, which many of the students were intrigued by and many calfs and dogs on the farm. Kate was bit disappointed when Pedro the Llama rejected her, multiple times. At lunch we were served with corn they grew, pork and potatoes. Keiana and I were able to try whiskey chocolate. Maria welcomed us outside to experience our own “Falso Carnaval.” We wore masks and spread flour on each others’ faces until Alex our Program Coordinator (PC), bombarded us with water balloons. Quickly things escalated into a water fight. Though we were soaking wet, it was time for us to dry off and meet the 2018 Tayta. The Tayta is very significant to the Ecuadorian community, and it is seen as a privilege for the person nominated as they are chosen to represent the different cities of Ecuador. He sang and played instruments with his family which ranged from different ages. We danced with him and had the opportunity to ask him questions about Carnaval, the significance of it and what it means to his culture.

Later in the Day…

When we got back to the hostel from La Guilena, everyone quickly took their showers (Mine was finally hot – Keiana) and then made it upstairs to our conference room to discuss our upcoming activities such as, working with locals (Which you’ll read about tomorrow) and our upcoming CAP project. After we had our meeting, we went to dinner at our regular dining spot. We all ended up debating about what flavor the ice cream was as we do with the juices in the morning.

End of the day/wrap up

After dinner, we competed with each other about things we learned so far such as the history of Ecuador. [I came in 2nd place with Edward 😉 – May] [I came in second to last 🙂 -Keiana]. We received our roses and thorns. Everyone praised us for setting great examples as the first Student Leaders. We ended the day with our nightly meeting and passed the torch to tomorrow’s leader’s, Kate and Brianna. We wish them luck and hope you look forward to their blog post tomorrow! It has been great being the leaders of the day and tricking the group all day about what our plans were.

Keiana and the Donkey having a deep conversation.

Lilly getting cleansed by Adan

Adan teaching us his cultural practices.

Fabian receiving a cleansing from Adan.

Stay Hydrated!!

A little puppy on the farm

The ritual site

What a cutie

Water Fight!!!!