Monday, October 24, 2011

News from the Walp

OK a lot has happened in and around Atahualpa (aka the ‘Walp) in the last couple weeks so please excuse my rambling.

We’ve gone on a couple really fun weekend/day trips. The first was the soccer game against Venezuela at the stadium in Quito. It was SO fun and crazy crowded, just a sea of yellow jerseys. We got little Ecuador flags painted on our faces and Ecuador won! Very exciting but on the way out we got completely squished in the crowd and someone nicked my iPod from my pocket. Which was totally my fault, I should have left it in the ‘Walp, but I was still pretty mad.

We also went to Otavalo, which has a cute crafts market where we spent HOURS emptying our pockets. We also saw a cockfight (nauseating) and went to a night club. The club was utterly hilarious – it was actually a private birthday party but we (five of us) got ushered in anyway since half of us were blonde Americans. Literally every eye in the building was on us and we had a ton of fun.

Ate guinea pig the other day, mmmm.

This weekend was Independent Student Travel weekend. Karelle, Conner, Sarah and I went to Banos and it was such a success. The first night we went on a night tour of the volcano nearby (we couldn’t see anything, and the “fire show” afterwards was a joke, I was laughing so hard I cried). We also biked to the waterfalls outside of Banos and hiked down so we were right next to them, it was beautiful. We gorged ourselves on food from Casa Hood, the best restaurant ever ever, ever. On our way back to Atahualpa we tried to make a stop at the mitad del mundo (where you can be in both hemispheres at once) and we paid for the taxi, and for the taxi to get into the parking lot, but then we were too poor to pay to enter the actual site. So we stood about 300 meters from the mitad del mundo! Too good.

Back in ‘Walp sweet ‘Walp, our work project is coming along. We’ve finished fixing up the pathways for tourists and started building a greenhouse for the community. It’s pretty cool because we’re involved in every step of the process, from hoeing the land for the structure to building the tables and setting them up inside. It’s not completed yet but it’s pretty close. Kind of frustrating because I want to finish it but for the last two days we’ve been (literally, I kid you not) hauling rocks down the mountain. Huge sacks of gravel. We are not happy about this. The goal is to build a bridge across the waterfall so people won’t have to straddle it like we do. The work is EXHAUSTING, I miss the greenhouse!

We also took a day to go to the elementary school in Atahualpa and paint a mural, which is oh so beautiful, hopefully pictures to come, which focuses on protecting the environment.

Our media projects are almost done – we’re supposed to finish today – so links to those should be coming out soon! Get excited because this project has taken a lot out of us.

Can’t believe our time is almost up in the ‘Walp. We leave in 3 days! I am going to miss my sweet host family (my sister is knitting me a scarf!) and all the rice. Headed to Peru for the Inca trail in a week!

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