Today was another amazing day. We enjoyed a typical delicious Ecuadorian breakfast of humitas. We learned an interesting Ecuadorain way of eating humitas by Jose, our Program Coordinator, by pouring sugar on them. After breakfast, we took a spectacular bus trip up the mountains to Cacha to experience the Inti Raymi celebration which is the annual indigenous celebration of the sun. On the way up, the students were awed by the beauty of the landscape and the winding road.
Fortunately, we made it in one piece. Once we arrived, we were given a tour of the area by an indigenous guide who taught us about their way of life and the rituals surrounding this special day. We visited the museum and a garden of native plants. She explained their various uses which we all found quite interesting. Most of us didn’t know that there were two types of aloe vera- male and female plants. The male, which is recommended for women, is not able to grow here due to the climate.
The female plants are recommended for use by men. In the garden there was also a hole full of cuy – guinea pig. They are raised here not for pets but for food. One student had a chance to climb down and catch a few. The students loved taking turns holding them and joked about which one we were going to eat for dinner.
After the tour, they also had a chance to take pictures with llamas on the mountainside while taking in the awe inspiring view of Riobamba below.
We then watched and participated in the Solstice ceremony. After that, we experienced a Pamba Mesa, our version of a potluck. It was a feast of many different types of corn, potatoes, cheese, fruit, nuts and ecuadorian tortillas filled with cheese. Que rico! It was actually a feast eaten without cutlery. How fun is that! The students want to do this when they return home..so get ready!
Later on in the afternoon, we all had a traditional Ecuadorian dance lesson. These students really can bust a move. They were able to wear the traditional garments which really brought out their moves. After being exhausted from the dance lesson, the students engaged some local kids in a soccer game. It was girls against boys…guess who won? They had so much fun that we made a date with the local kids to play again on Wednesday. After the soccer match, they played Frisbee with the kids.
We ended the day with a yummy dinner of hot soup and hamburgers. What an awesome day. They are all content and sleeping in their beds at the moment.