Sleeping for four days in a hammock underneath a large wooden structure, open and exposed to all of the Amazon’s elements beckons for a post. Three of the nourishers (including myself), worked with members in a community on the outskirts of the rainforest to build a greenhouse in order to grow vegetables. Due to the infamous amount of rain the region receives, vegetables are nearly impossible to grow without some sort of roof to grow under, and of course, protection is necessary to deter the large array of pests.
The community was roughly two hours from the city, Puyo, where we were staying. Thus, to be more efficient, we decided to stay in the community with a host family for a week as we helped build the greenhouse.
We painted a mural in our free time:
We played in waterfalls, picked bananas and cocoa beans, hiked in the rainforest, and had our faces painted with tribal art:
But more importantly, we made an impact within a community composed of the most welcoming and liveliest people, all while creating a bond between us three that continue to this day.
Only have a day left in Ecuador now. I meant to blog more than this but the time went by so fast. I’m definitely satisfied with how the trip went. We worked hard and I felt we had a positive impact on the communities that will be long lasting. I liked being able to experience Esfuerzo, Chuya Yaku, and teaching at a few of the schools. The Esfuerzo community was always very welcoming and thankful for the work we were doing. The people at Chuya Yaku seemed invested in carrying on the completion of the garden.
I wish we had explored more of the country but long travel times and short weekends made it difficult.
Overall, a great experience.
One of our projects, the planting of the garden, takes place in a school called Chuya Yaku. This school is situated deeper into the jungle, 2 hours away from Puyo. We decide to spend the night in Cuya Yaku because I gets very difficult to go back and forward from both locations. The Chuya Yaku community were very welcoming and hospitable; they cooked for us, gave us a plece to sleep, and helped us make progress with the garden and the green house.
This is a picture of the cooking area in their hut. The program provided them with the ingredients to cook for us while we stayed in their community. We had a root vegetable soap and sweet plantain. We enjoyed it!
This next picture is showing an energy tea made with guayusa leaf– indigenous drink this tea at 4:00am at least once a week:
We decided to buy hammocks to sleep in during the night. I can attest that sleeping in a hammock will be some of the most comfortable moments of your life. The right sized hammock and the correct hanging angle can make your sleeping experience in hammocks quite rewarding =)
At about 3:45am we were woken up by a roster…it was the funniest moment! At that time, all we wanted was to find the nearest machete and get rid of that roster. Lol
We all had a great time together in Chuya Yaku( Ellie, Caterina, Jehireh, Devan, Brandon, and I).
It has been almost two weeks since we arrived to Puyo, Ecuador and started our wonderful experience. As many of you know, our mission is to support the children and families of the Ecuadorian Amazon by improving infrastructure and participating in community development.
The project was divided into two teams: The first team (my team) is focusing on the subjects of Health and Hygiene– our mission is to build a restroom at one of the local schools (Esfuerzo)and provide health and hygiene awareness. We’ve been working on the restroom for a week already; it’s almost done and ready to be used!
The second group is going to focus on planting a garden at another local school, called Chuya Yaku, in order to make vegetables and fruits available for the school community.
With regard to our host families, they’ve been very welcoming and supportive. We get to learn about their cultural ways, taste real ecuadorian food; It’s a good cultural emergence =).
The second day after we arrived, my friends and I visited the Botanical Garden, Omaere.
The name Omaere means “Nature of the Rainforest.” The park was founded in 1993 by two French women and a Shuar woman– Native Ecuadorian tribe. Omaere houses many of the most important medicinal plants to amazonian people.
A plant that caught my attention was the walking palm tree: This species of palm tree is capable of walking up to 4 meter to obtain sunlight.
I hope everyone is doing well!
We are three days away from engaging in our wonderful experience in Puyo, Ecuador.This trip is a great opportunity for us to engage in community development and learn about a new culture. As team leader, I hope to organize the team, and ensure that goals and objectives are perceived as attainable. We want to make an impact on the lives of the people of the Puyo region. For that reason, we are ready to work hard and help in any way possible!
We have been in Quito, Ecuador for just over a week and it has been an surprising experience to say the least. A majority of our time has been spent in the city of Quito which is very large. We can find all the comforts of home in this large city, including Papa Johns. We have had some great experiences with Alicia; our host, president, and co-founder of Triple Salto. Her family and all if the people who have welcomed and helped us in Ecuador have made this experience unforgettable. The best part of our trip thus far has been our downtime at the worksite where we have been able to interact and exchange stories with the teachers and students. It is at this school where we have been painting our first mural, and building our first greenhouse and wormery. It is exciting seeing these tasks slowly being finished but it’s also a sad feeling because we all know as we start to finish everything our leave date is also approaching rapidly. Hopefully soon we will be able to show you all of the hard work we have done with all of the great people we have met. I have personally really enjoyed this experience thus far and cant imagine what the next five will entail.
These past few months have certainly held life lessons for all of us,
and adjusting back to our former routines hasn’t been entirely easy. After having been back in the States for a week or two, we can truly see how this experience has shaped our perceptions, our interactions, and our understandings of ourselves. We can look at a broken shovel and see all of the lives that it has yet to live. We can turn a plastic bag into a shoelace, turn a rock into a hammer, and turn a broken bottle into a watering can. In many ways, we have also come to more personally learn our own faults and shortcomings and how to accept a helpful hand when needed. And, perhaps most of all, we are constantly reminded of the relative extravagance of our lives.
There were times that were frustrating. We struggled with others, with our equipment, and with ourselves. However, throughout it all, we remembered that we were struggling with, which made it all the more worth doing. Now Puni Kotona and Santo Domingo are left with a greater appreciation and comprehension of computer skills and English that will aid them in their future studies, covered gardens that will harbor vitamin-rich vegetables to supplement their diets, chakras de guayusa that should help provide a sustainable supplemental income for the schools, nutrition booklets, compost, and a trash collection system. The desire of the communities truly encouraged these projects, and their efforts will be what continue them. omings and how to accept a helpful hand when needed. And, perhaps most of all, we are constantly reminded of the relative extravagance of our lives.
As Nelson Henderson once said, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” It is something to carry with us as we continue our own stories. It was heartbreaking to leave the families we had spent two months of our lives coming to love, knowing that we might never see them again. This experience has certainly impacted our lives as well as theirs, and both parties have learned a great deal. Now, we must just decide which tree to plant tomorrow.