Dear Parents, Friends, and people who randomly stumbled upon this blog,

We are alive and doing well! It has been an action packed few days, but we ( as well as our stomachs) are settling into life here in Ecuador. To recap what we've been up to I will start at the beginning.

We got into Otavalo late Sunday night and were asleep soon after in Hostal Santa Fe. Waking up to find ourselves in in a new county was quite exciting. We slowly got our bearings And chatted about our hopes and fears about the trip over fresh juice and bread. We then had an orientation with the staff from Tandana (the organization hosting and guiding us). They sent us on a scavenger hunt around the city, in which we bartered, l (tried to) ask for directions and we bought the weirdest fruit we could find.

Another night in the hostal and then we got to shadow some teachers at the school in Quichinche where I'll be helping at. We were treated to an engaging theater class, incredibly creative students, and a game of soccer against kids around half our size who we sorely lost to. Afterwards, back to Otavalo where we prepped our own lessons. The Tandana staff then engaged us with skits that introduced us to some unfamiliar ideas regarding community life.

A little more prepared to stay with the host families than we had been when we first arrived, we set out the next day to buy groceries for our families for the next two weeks. Having little idea as to what we were getting ourselves into, we hoped that we had purchased what our family needed and wanted.

 

Soon after, we left for Agualongo (the small community we are staying in) and for our new families. Gathered at the community center we anxiously searched the crowd of unfamiliar faces for signs of welcome. We were told our host mother was not there yet. This was not a surprise to our guides, who knew our mom to be a "wildcard". Halfway through the meeting everyone ran outside to watch her arrive on the handle bars of the presidents bicycle. We knew then that we had lucked out.

It's been quite a transition but we are getting into the swing of things. Breakfast isn't necessarily "typical " breakfast food, work is harder at altitudeand cement mixing is a very important skill here. Oh and don't touch the dogs.....no matter how cute they are. 

Today we finished up the floor of the gazebo we are building at the school and visited the Otavalo Museum of Art and History. We are now sitting in the living room with our host family watching a telenovela that I barely understand. My hair is braided thanks to my host sister and Lucero is finally reading a book she meant to read this past year. I think our mom had asked us each about five times if we are cold or hungry. There may be less in terms of technology here, but there is plenty of love to go around.

- Sydney (with help from Lucero) 

 

Kiki (Left) and Nora (Right), spending having dinner with their host family!

Kiki (Left) and Nora (Right), spending having dinner with their host family!