Category Archives: Ecuador
I recently wrapped up my fourth visit to the beautiful country of Ecuador. The day I returned home I washed laundry and left with the family, being home for just over 12 hours. Talk about a whirlwind!
Now that we have returned I am trying frantically to catch up with pictures and other “must-dos” so that we can enjoy the remainder of our summer. In editing my photos I came across this great website for producing your own video slideshows called Animoto. You can make 30 second videos for free, or for only 5 bucks a month, you can make full length videos. I must admit, I am a little addicted. They are super easy to produce and great for any occasion. (thank you, birthday announcements, scrap-booking, etc.)
Here is the one I made about my trip. Enjoy!
During the second week the team did very similar work as the first week. During the day we would got to a school and the evening we taught in a community with a smaller group of a family. The second week was slightly different in that we had previously stayed in this community. In fact, this was the community that the team has done the most work in. The kids in the school remembered many of the returning team members and quickly made friends with the ones that were new.On Tuesday we celebrated Children’s Day at the school. It was a great time of celebration with more balloons, face painting, games like Four Square and Soccer. We shared cake together and provided lunch for everyone that was there. The second week also had a surprise blessing. Because we have done so much work in this school previously, the last three days the school gave us three hours of their time to spend with the children. Because we were thinking we would have an hour, many of us were stretched to fill all the extra time. Many of the team used the time to teach extra Bible stories and English lessons. It was a very fast week, and before we knew it we were giving our final good-byes before heading back home.
We were living in unusual environments during our stay with the Tsachila. In order to have a time of R&R we traveled to the coastal area of Bahia for a weekend break. There is nothing more relaxing than ocean breezes and the sound of crashing waves. After the weekend we returned to Santo Domingo to live with another community.
There is no way for me to update all that we have done the last two weeks. So instead of trying to catch up on blogging, laundry, time with the kids, etc., I am going to let my pictures fill in the blanks. For a quick overview, we would go to the school during the day and teach Bible stories and crafts. In the afternoon we spent time int the community and had more Bible story-ing in the evening.
Opening up your home to guests can be a challenge. But opening up your home to over 25 people is an even bigger challenge. I must say though how warm and welcoming they were to us to allow us to live with them and accept us in as family.
This is the “Dining room” where we would share our meals together each day.
This is the girl’s hut. There were 11 of us sharing this room together.
On move in day we had to get out nets all set up.
This was my bed.
Alan slept in a hammock and loved it.
This is the “bathroom” The small building to the right is a shower, and the two-story building was the toilet area.
Our hosts would get up very early in the morning to clean up and start breakfast.
In other pictures I’ve posted there is also a common kitchen area and a community center. There are several other houses as well.
This is one big family!
We have officially been here in Ecuador for over a week, and there is so much to share. Everything is going really well, and I have seen so many positive things.
I thought I would share a little more about the culture of the Tsachila people group. About a hundred years ago many of the Tsachila people had been wiped out by small pox and other diseases brought in. The Tsachila began to paint their entire bodies with a berry called achiote. They believed that painting themselves all red protected them from the diseases that were killing them off. Over time they stopped painting their entire bodies and began using the berry to only color the hair of the men, which they still do today. The red also signifies life.
They also paint their bodies with another fruit that is black. The “paint” lasts for several days on the skin. They paint lines on their bodies. They also paint black lines on their faces signifying death, black dots to remember the dead and black zig zag to represent the mountains around them. They used to paint black and white lines on their legs because they believed it would protect them from a poisonous snake that is black and white.
The men traditionally wear a black and white striped skirt and paint their hair red. The women wear very colorful skirts. Instead of painting their hair red, they wear colorful ribbons signifying life.
Like many indigenous groups, the Tsachila live on land that the government has given them. They farm yucca, plantains, cocoa, lion, and a few other vegetation. The women spend the day working on weaving and other arts and crafts while the men do heavier work. They are a people of very humble means with a rich heritage of tradition. Over the past several yeas they have had more tourism for income as well.
The drive from Quito to Santo Domingo de los Colorados is a very interesting drive. We travel on a highway through the Andes mountains. There is a lot of construction to widen and improve the road right now. Sometimes words can never say as much as a photo. . .