Written By Daniel and Mira
We finally made it out of Tena, the protests ended by some random miracle, as the government agreed to place subsidies back on gas prices. This week, we were more than eager to continue on our program and travel to the indigenous town of Peguche, outside of the city of Otavalo. The week has warmed our hearts, minds, and spirits as we did homestays with indigenous families, learned about traditional indigenous culture, and continued to practice and excel in Spanish. Peguche is a small, tranquil town that surrounds beautiful waterfalls, that we got to visit during Spanish class. We got a taste of living in a traditional household, that centers around music, weaving, family, and delicious food with similar staples to that of the rest of Ecuador.
Each day, we had intensive Spanish classes in the morning, and after three weeks of classes, it’s clear the entire group has greatly excelled at Spanish, including complex grammar in the past and future tenses. We even started to dream and think in Spanish. In the afternoons, we took part in an array of activities that included picking up trash around the waterfalls, learning how to weave and dye yarn to make beautiful scarfs, and dancing to traditional music. We also visited the art market in Otavalo on Saturday, and bargained for some unique items. Finally, on Sunday, we did an 8 and a half mile hike around Lake Cuicocha, which is the ancient remains of a dormant volcano. It was difficult but very rewarding and the view of the lake kept us going. We were lost in the clouds most of the day, covered in a mystical mist that made the hike feel fantastical and adventurous.
All is quiet on the western front and as the unbelievable Dan Quayle says, “We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.”