Amidst the chaos of a paper, a group project, and a presentation, among other things, we took a 3 day excursion to Yunguilla, a rural community an hour outside of Quito. Our only task: observe, participate, and reflect on life in Yunguilla. At the beginning of the trip, some people, myself included, thought about how much more productive we would be if we could stay home and get so much of our homework completed. However, I soon learned that a 3 day break where I couldn’t even think about homework because I couldn’t do anything about it was exactly what I needed. On Wednesday when we arrived, we split into groups to begin helping with tasks in the community. I went to the artisan area and made bead bracelets, necklaces, and earrings to sell in the community store. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed making jewelry. Normally when I want to do something like that at home, I’m busy and become more stressed out by “wasting time” when I could be doing something productive.
Later that afternoon we were paired up 2 or 3 people per host family. My host parents were unbelievable. They were in their 80s, had 13 children, and still gardened, raised chickens, and ran a farm. Unfortunately, my host dad couldn’t really hear very well which made communication a little difficult sometimes. That evening we played lots of soccer and volleyball then returned home, had dinner, and went to bed.
The next morning, we woke up at 5:30 to feed the chickens and the cows. However, when we were feeding the chickens, they escaped so we had to chase them around the perimeter of the house a few times before getting them back in the pen. Next, we had breakfast and then had about an hour and a half to relax before we had to leave to meet the whole group. The rest of the morning I washed carrots to make into chips to sell in the store then weeded in the garden. After lunch I continued the weeding until later in the afternoon when we took turns on the cool swing, bought some homemade marmalade and chips from the store, and played some more soccer. After dinner, we returned to the community center for a fiesta put on by the organizers in the community. We danced and sang and it was lots of fun.
On Friday morning, after breakfast, the group went on a trail that was used by the indigenous 2500 years ago for trade. The trip was so short but lots of fun! One of my favorite parts was the views from the community. From everywhere in the community but especially from my house, you could see mountains that seemed to go on forever. It was so peaceful and such a well needed break from the stresses on the city and school. Below I included a few pictures on the beautiful mountains as well as my host house and dog.