ReCap of Our Good Times in Ecuador


And so, our time in Ecuador comes to an end. After the final dinner and our final goodbyes to the amazing staff and to our wonderful Professor, we leave to our respective plans for the night (some to make it last longer, some to prepare for the days of travel to come). Everybody finishes up their packing, some head off to the airport a day early to travel to other parts within South America, and everybody starts to feel the nervous jitters of the Last Day. 

Hummingbird Statue in La Carolina Park River
I spent my last day with my two friends and neighbors, and we went to visit the last few sights within Quito that we missed. Throughout our outing, we recounted our adventures in Ecuador with a nostalgic tone, fondly recalling tale after tale. To recap our adventures:
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The first week was a busy busy week. Everybody landed at different times, and were escorted to their respective and respectable host families. The next few days were filled with all sorts of activities, from meeting the wonderful staff at IES, to playing soccer, to learning in class. Towards the end of the week, we were immediately whisked away to the wonderful San Clemente community in the Highland Sierras. There we learned all about the local indigenous culture, ate delicious food, talked with families and shared stories with each other, helped paint the local school, and had an overall unforgettable experience.  
The Class after completing a particularly tricky hike to a sacred indigenous site
After returning from our time in San Clemente, we wound down with a couple free days of relaxation, and then went back into our classroom routine. We had a wonderful guest lecture on bilingual/bicultural Education in Ecuador. After we worked hard on our assignments, the class worked together to plan a trip to Banos for our first four day weekend. At Banos, we went to many different places and saw wonderful sights. We took a hike to a waterfall, swung on a Swingset at the End of the World, got pampered at a spa, and went Ziplining in a beautiful forest. 

The Class Crossing a Bridge at the Pailon del Diablo Waterfall 
Returning from Banos we began packing for our next trip to Tena, in the Amazonian Region of Ecuador. In Tena, we check in to the lovely Establo de Tomas, and are introduced to the many communities in the region. We first visited the Local IB students, and gained many new Facebook friends! We then left to visit the local grade school where we were going to do our Minga later in the trip. At the Minga, we helped with the creation of the foundation for a new bathroom, and weeded A LOT. We then were treated to a wonderful lunch and performance by the residents of the town. The rest of the trip was filled with wonderful different sight seeing expeditions and tours, including a hike to (another) waterfalls (there's lots of waterfalls in Ecuador, it's pretty nice), a visit to a local indigenous community, a boat ride, and a crazy cave spelunking adventure!

Students working together on the Minga

From Tena, we returned to Quito for a few short days, and planned our next trip to Mindo! Mindo was a lovely place, filled with all sorts of natural wonders. In Mindo, we went to (yet another!!) waterfall, visited a beautiful butterfly/hummingbird/orchid museum, and then went either horseback riding or ziplining! 
Some butterflies at the Butterfly Museum
With the end of Mindo came the end of our trips, and so we spent the last few days catching up on the Quito life and working hard on our final projects and essays. The last week seemed to go by too quickly, and there was hardly a moment where somebody wasn't tearing up about having to leave. We had all grown up so much within such a short amount of time, and we had grown close as friends. We all made sure, before we left, to promise to meet up again back in the normal school year and have a Quito Group Reunion!

And so concludes our time in Ecuador. For those who have followed our adventures throughout the many different places within the beautiful country of Ecuador, I extend the gratitude of all the students and staff within this program. This has been a wonderful, unforgettable experience for everyone participating, and we hope that, through this blog, other's can enjoy this experience with us. The more the merrier, right? :) 

Comments

  1. Great post Kayla! So nice to see a recap of each week!

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