The cobble stone streets are filled with children, but no adults. One of the students makes a comment that ‘everyone in the USA always says how dangerous South America is, yet all the families let their children run around unattended and they go home for dinner.”
We saw kids ages 3 wondering the streets, wanting to go where we were going, walk with us, hold our hands. Confilcted, and unsure where they were suppose to be or if a parent would miss them we soon learned that they know where they live and they go home when they need to.
A full morning of prepping the community to paint, sanding, scraping, sweeping up the torqouise pant powder we went to our respected host families for a delicious lunch. Maltilda, 30 years old has a spicy and smart 4 year old eyla (pronounced; like the letter ‘e’, then a soft la) she allows me to practice my Spanish, speaking slow to me, repeating and annunciating, showing me colors on her shoes, it took her a while, but tonight she started asking how to say things in English. She likes to take everything away from her little 1 ½ year brother Cory. For lunch we had a typical meal consisting of soup, then the main dish with rice, beans, a scrambled egg, spinach, and carrot omelet, fresh homemade salsa, a tomato and carrot salad, juice of oatmeal. (yea I know, sounds strange to some, but so good!) and tea. Dinner was another delicious soup with white carrot, a side of popcorn and tea. The food is AMAZING!
The community is a Kichwa community outside of Otavalo. The people’s first language was Kichwa, then they learned Spanish. Nobody seems to speak English so we are very glad to have Pablo our local guide and interpreter along. The people in the community are very kind and welcoming. Several of the students have commented on how amazing it is that they just welcome us in with open arms and take care of us with sincere concern. We all have about a 10-15 minute walk from our homes around town to the community center. Chris, Pablo and my home is on top of the hill.
We spent the afternoon taking care of housekeeping and having our first ‘Group’ which went extremely well considering there was the loudest music playing and a one of the host mom’s and her husband, and another of the host families kids sat in (sometimes) The particiation in everything is amazing. Everyone worked really hard on the community center. Everyone seems to be practicing their Spanish and trying to learn new words, try new foods, and be very grateful and appreciative all the while. A couple of the boys taught a 5 year old how to draw a star on a piece of paper even with the language barrier. After our meetings we headed out to the field across the street for some games. We quickly noticed the local kids playing soccer and basketball. It wasn’t long before we all were joined in. The altitude was grabbing people’s breath so the students would tag in and out for rests against the local kids. A volleyball game went on, some soccer, a lot of laughs were had and photos taken.
All in all it was a great day. Tomorrow we have, beading at 3pm after we visit the waterfall and soccer match at 4pm. Hope to pack it all in!