Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’


Sara: The Amazon

October 11, 2011

This weekend we went to the Amazon! The first night there we hung out and went to the discotecas and this yummy place called cafe tortuga which had amazing desserts.  Then on Saturday we took a tour through the Amazon.  We took a canoe up the river then went on a 3 hour hike into the jungle.  On the hike we learned a ton about natural medicine and even got to try some leaves that tasted like gum (chicle) and also some natural anesthetic (also leaves that we chewed) which made our mouths go numb for awhile.  We also ate live ants that tasted just like lemons!  After our jungle tour we canoed up the river to eat lunch, visit a museum and go to a zoo/animal reserve.  There were a ton of animals that we got to see and there were over 100 monkeys just freely roaming! Dinner was amazing back in Tena, I had filet mignon and pasta, but the restaurant we ate at had 2 sloths just hanging out throughout the restaurant!

Unfortunately, our Ipods and cell phones got stolen out of our hotel room during our tour in the jungle.  We filed a police report, but within the Ecuadorian justice system there wasn’t a whole lot we could do.  The most important thing is that we were completely safe and only our electronics were stolen.  Overall though, the weekend was awesome and the Amazon was a really great experience to have.  It’s crazy but I only have 2 more weeks left in Quito and then I will be moving to Otavalo to work in the ER at my internship!

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Brittany: A new home

October 29, 2010

I am now living in the Amazon! Unfortunately things got off to a rocky start…

We left Quito at 7:30 am and arrived in Tena about four hours later. There are seven of us students here and we went to each internship site, dropping people off one by one. Mallory is working at a tea business; Julia is at a clinic; Kathleen, Francisco and David are at the Tena hospital; Anna is at a state park/island; and for me: an agriculture organization.

I was the last to get dropped off. We drove to my internship site and quickly realized we couldn’t actually drive there. We needed to cross a bridge, but there was construction. Instead we parked and crossed by foot and then walked 30 minutes up a gravel road to the organization. I was not prepared to take such a long walk and had on flip-flops and no bug spray, so now my legs are destroyed with bites.

The organization was actually a collective of farmers who live in the jungle. There was a meeting house, but really no central location. We went to the president’s house and talked to him and his family about the work I would do.

It was immediately clear to me that I did not want to work there. They had said they had an environmental education program, but the more we talked the more it seemed that was not really true. It appeared that if I worked there I would just be working in the garden every day and perhaps attempt to identify plants in the part of the jungle they own. (You know, since I´m an expert botanist and everything). Basically it was everything I hoped it wasn’t, not to mention it wasn’t really accessible… I would have to take a taxi from my house every day ($4 each way because of the rocky, uphill road) and then walk 30 to 40 minutes.

Luckily, my professor was able to see I was not interested. So now I am working for the same organization as Anna. It is a state park-like place on an island (technically a peninsula) in the river that runs through Tena. Its focus is environmental education, so it’s a place for tourists and school groups. For now, it is only accessible by canoe because a flood wiped out the bridge last spring, but it is definitely easier to get to than the other place…

I am hoping it will be a good fit. Today was a little strange because we just cleaned up trash for a few hours, had lunch, and then waited around for our boss before finally just going home. At the moment I’m feeling like it is going to be a loooong 6 weeks, but hopefully that feeling will change soon. There is one really good thing, though. The island has monkeys! So obviously I am quite excited about that.

I also met my new family yesterday. Everyone is very nice. I have a mom and a dad, a brother, a sister, and 2 nieces. There is also another sister that works outside of Tena but comes home on the weekends. It is definitely less comfortable than in Quito, but I’m hoping it will be okay. The only thing I am kind of annoyed about is that I don’t have my own room. Sometimes the nieces sleep in my room and that is where the sister sleeps Friday–Sunday. It is fine, but it hard feeling like I don’t have any space of my own.

I don’t have wireless at my house but there is an internet café across from work. It is just $1 to use the computer for an hour. So hopefully I’ll be able to update regularly, but uploading pictures might be tricky.


Kathryn: Spring break, Amazon style

April 4, 2010

For spring break, I threw in my lot with a group of students from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, to go on a medical mission to bring a health clinic and spiritual nourishment to pueblos in the Amazon region of Ecuador. The team also included American doctors and nurses, Ecuadorian priests, and a number of English/Spanish translators. My role was to help translate health talks and religious talks and skits for people waiting to be seen at the clinic. The week was filled with rich experiences of generosity, culture, nature, and community. My only connection with the group was that I had been in email contact with a Franciscan alum, Lily Hannon, who is currently living and working in an orphanage on the coast of Ecuador. She and her missionary partner Breanna, had planned to participate in the mission trip, and it so happened that the dates exactly aligned with my Spring break.

I wish I had time to detail all of the experiences I had, but with the limits of time and space I will recount a few highlights:

  • Ferrying or taking long, thin boats back and forth across the river that separated our hotel from the towns where we brought the clinic.
  • Playing soccer, red light green light, red rover, and duck duck goose for hours with hordes of barefoot, dirty, smiling children.
  • Sneaking off with some of the kids to see the river in a hollowed out log-boat only to fall in the river five feet from shore.
  • Getting a tour of the jungle and eating cacao, papaya, an orange avocado-like fruit, pods with fluffy melony-tasting chunks inside, and hierba luisa—a grass used to make tea.
  • Speaking about and against alcoholism to a group of young men in a village; teaching groups of children how to pray the rosary; translating and acting out the Good Samaritan.
  • Handing out first aid kits and translating messages about basic hygiene—washing hands, brushing teeth, boiling water (or setting it in the sun for six hours in a clear plastic jug).
  • Watching traditional village wedding dances and being pulled into one by a seven-year-old boy.
  • Sleeping on the concrete schoolhouse floor under mosquito netting without mattress or blanket, listening to a monsoon roar outside.
  • Going to daily mass all week and relying on that grace to come up with religious talks, songs, and skits in Spanish with almost no preparation.
  • Getting climbed on, incessantly poked and chased by kids.
  • Going back to Quito and getting my nails done with one of the other missionaries for $2. Then going with her to get her ear pierced, also for an obscenely low price.

For those of you who just want to see it, here is a slideshow of the trip!

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