” We are not myths of the past, ruins in the jungle, or zoos. We are people and we want to be respected not to be victims of intolerance and racism.” -Rigoberta Menchu. This was the quote of the day, we had all day to think about a response while we went to indigenous communities. The feedback we received about the quote was that a lot of people related to it and compared the quote’s meaning to the knowledge we were exposed to today.
This Saturday morning, we ate breakfast at Roma Santa. We had bread, bananas, and Ibiza. We then headed out to Pucara Tamba where we got to meet Don Segundo and his son Anthony. There they taught us about the indigenous community and traditions. We saw how rebels in the community were punished by being showered with cold water and then whipped with stinging nettle. We were then cleansed with the herbs that they use to get rid of negative energy.
After Pucara Tamba, we went to lunch at Roma Santa where we had a traditional Ecuadorian dish of pork and potatoes, a soup with corn, yuca, and onions, and pineapple juice. We then left back to the hotel to sleep off the elevation sickness (we were very exhausted!!!!!!!!) we gathered for a program seminar where we planned out community day (Monday) we had a bit of free time where some played cards and the rest were conversing.
Once we recharged our batteries we traveled to Nativa where we made our own empanadas. Some of us struggled with the dough but in the end, it came out very delicious. Carmen Tiupul, an indigenous activist came to explain her side of the story on what it’s like to be an indigenous woman in Ecuador, while also fighting for her rights. A quote that burned into our brains was when she said that ” In order to preserve my culture I have to resist to exist” which is showing a part of the reality of her life.
After Carmen’s inspiring speech, we got to eat our empanadas and try Cuy (guinea pigs!!) which is served with a potato base. The majority really loved the Ecuadorian dish. We also tried Ecuadorian ceviche with popcorn and fried plantain. They then served a variety of different Ecuadorian fruits, most of the fruit was new to us.
We arrived back at the hotel were gathered for our nightly meeting where we chose the next LDDs. To end the night we hopped into bed, very exhausted.