Global: Session 1 - Darwin: Ecuador & Galapagos
Posted: Wed, Jul 6, 2011
Mudfights and Birthdays
We woke up early in the morning to complete our last day of community service. We headed to Hector’s island to assist him in the construction of a new kitchen. However, we were quickly distracted by the native children and their soccer games. The soccer game turned into a brawl of muddy goodness. After a half hour or so we decided to clean off in the river then return to the hotel for a tasty lunch. After lunch we went on a hike and hung out in a watch tower and most of the group went on canoes in a pond by the river. Then we went back to the hotel for a delicious dinner and an optional night hike.
Posted: Tue, Jul 5, 2011
Today was an early start and under the direction of our Leader-of the-Day, Meredith, we ate our 6:30 breakfast and left 7:15 for a long day of community service with our guide, Hector. We arrived at the dock shortly before the first batch of trees. Much to our surprise, we were not moving full grown trees but instead tiny saplings, and instead of a couple hundred, there were 800! We shortly discovered the most effective way of moving the saplings was by assembly line, and soon we had loaded, transported along the river, and unloaded on the bank of the river 1,600 saplings! Well, almost 1,600. A few of the more slippery ones never made it. We then ran out of the rain, which had soaked us all to the core, into the local school for a piping hot chicken soup served to us by the community we were helping. After lunch we were told that we have to carry all of the saplings in land about 100 meters. This would have been easy if we were all doing it at the same time but eight of us were divided off and had to go to Coca and get the last 300 plants. So the remaining members of our team and a bunch of the villagers had to finish off the remaining 800 to 900 plants. Then when the 300 plants were picked up we had to carry them inland as well, which was easy because we did another assembly line so instead of the plants just going from boat to shore and than from shore to inland, we had them carried from the boat to inland. This got the job done fast. After we had finished carrying all of the plants inland we huddled up for a group picture and got back in the boat to go back to the hotel but we made a stop on the way to drop about 30 plants off at hectors island. Because he said that we were going to be cutting down a few trees tomorrow and that he never cuts trees down with out planting at least two more for each one he had cut down.
Posted: Mon, Jul 4, 2011
Day 1 in the Amazon
We woke up in Quito this morning at the sinfully early hour of 6:30 (Which wasn’t actually that bad since we wake up at 6:30 most days). It was hassle free to get to the airport and we only had a few minor setbacks checking in due to some computer malfunctions at the airport. The lovely Merideth took our sandwich orders and made sure we all got fed. Our breakfast was delicious and we were quickly on our way to the Amazon. ` It was a short hop, about 20 minutes or so and then we were in the surprisingly humid Amazon heat. The boat ride from the airport in Coca to the eco lodge was incredibly beautiful, reminiscent of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Once we were settled in we had lunch and our wonderful guide Hector gave us the run down of our next couple days here. We were then invited to his home, Sumak Alpa where we saw a baby – and a baby monkey! We got to go on an adventurous walk through the Amazon rainforest with our new, beloved rain boots and see first hand the diversity and wonder of the forest. We were all very tired after our walk and when we got home Mallory, Elliot, Roman and Josh played eucher;Mallory and Elliot won, obviously. It had been a long, but good day – the food here is delicious!!
ps. happy 4th of July!!
Posted: Sun, Jul 3, 2011
Leaving the Beautiful Galapagos
Wake up time today was rather early; around 6 o’clock and had to be packed and ready downstairs by 6:30a.m. Maximum to catch our bus! Unfortunately, the bus came a little late, more like 7:20 or something like that! Once all of our luggage was on the bus, we headed towards the airport! In total, we had to go through two buses and a ferry to get to our final destination: the airport! Once there, we got our boarding passes and passports and were ready to go through baggage check and security and board the plane to Quito! There was a hour layover in Guayakil, and then we got back to the hostel in Quito! The rest of the night was chill; went out for dinner which had choices of chicken and french fries or spaghetti with Alfredo and ham! Kelly made a list of essentials for the Amazon, so the rest of the night was devoted to packing and getting ready for the biggest rainforest in the world! Meredith, George and James gave themselves cleansing facials to get fully ready and clean for the Amazon! Woohoooo!!!
Posted: Fri, Jul 1, 2011
Happy Canada Day!
Happy Canada Day!
6:30 wake up today to go build a garden for the local school. We started the day off with some pins and needles with the infinitesimally small splinters in the bamboo. But we got to work with our saws and went to work, and before we knew it we were putting up the first wall. Our dirty clothes we wore the day before had become even dirtier after the work, but it really didn’t matter. Our first day of community service had gone over well, and after a somewhat unwelcome walk home we got to participate in our afternoon activity.
Elliot (Who moonlights as the Riddler and JRR Tolkien’s writing buddy) gave us a list of pictures to get in the form rhyming riddles. After some scrambling around town we all met up at the last stop, where our group was able to snatch victory after a tiebreaker for a three way tie. Afterwards we all had some well deserved shopping time, and more importantly, time to get our laundry. Just as in my last blog post, Roman needed a new pair of shoes, and he showed his love for boobies when he got them.
All in all it was a good day, honest work and a good game of pool tonight with Palmer, Kelly and Javier. Now for sleep.