Monday, February 27, 2017

Mindo Clouds, Quilotoa Lake and Kiddies

Hey guys!  So it has been a super busy couple of days and I am sorry I didn't get to update the blog last night. A lot of us didn't get home until very late in the evening and we were exhausted!! So today you guys are getting a "two-for-one" deal!! I will first talk about Day 6 when we were fortunate enough to go on excursions and then I will talk about day 7 at the orphanage!

Day 6:  Mindo Cloud Forrest & Quilotoa Lake

So day 6 was off to an early start when our group split into 2 as we had to option to either go zip lining in the Andes Mountains and tubing, or to hike up an active volcano on top of a donkey to a lake where we could kayak!  Both groups had amazing times, filled with fun and culture!  

While in the mountains, we did 10 different zip lines, each one of them with their own spectacular view of the mountains. The views were breathtaking and definitely something we will never forget.
I also don't think anyone will forget how hard the hike up to the second zip line was.. We all realized just how much out of shape we were in ;) Luckily, there was a water stop at the end of that one so we could move on easier haha!  One of the really cool things about zip lining was that we had the options to do different positions on some of the zips!  The "superman" was the first one, which was like going head first into the sky.  We felt like we were flying!
The second one was the "butterfly" which was literally when you would hang upside down and extend your arms and legs. Pretty sure all of the blood rushed to our heads but we made it out fine๐Ÿ˜€.
After the zip lining ended, we headed down to the river to go tubing. This was definitely an experience we will not forget. I don't think anyone could stop smiling the entire time.  There was essentially 7 tubes tied together with rope that roughly 6 people would sit on, and then you would travel down the river tides through the rocks and waves!  We might of got soaked but definitely had a ton of fun doing it!

We ended off our day with a tour of a butterfly farm. This was pretty neat as the butterfly keeper showed us the different stages of how caterpillars become butterflies, and then led us into the butterfly habitat!

For the excursion to the volcano, we started our day at a small indigenous village named Pujili. The Pujili Market takes place at Pujili every Sunday. People from surrounding villages and towns gather at the indigenous market to sell a wonderful variety of traditional trades and crafts in order to make a meager living for their families๐ŸŒฝ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿค. We were able to learn about how corn meal is made, which was a pretty cool and cultural experience. It is very self sufficient and had a lot of strong authentic smells.

We then arrived at a look off where they told us an 800 year old legend of two kings. There were two volcanoes that were owned by kings who were fighting over the princess. One king made the others river go dry and the one who still had the water won. Once the princess died, he buried her under his lake. Legend has it, if the color of the lake is green she is sad, and if it is blue she is happy.๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ˜Š

We then arrived at the Quilotoa lake. This is where we walked down into the volcano, kayaked in the lake and then took donkey rides up the Playita Quilotoa volcano. This volcano was 3000 meters up. A lot of families had gathered there for the holiday weekend and we praised them for making it up without the help of donkeys (because we are clearly in tip top athletic shape).

Day 7 - Orphanage

This morning we got up and traveled to an orphanage about an hour away. The children ranged in age from 3 and 1/2, to 15 years old. They stay on average at the orphanage for roughly 1 year. We were able to get a bit of a background on the children from the director "their auntie", before meeting them. As soon as we got there we were able to visit with the children in their dinning room. We opened up the crayons and stickers and they started coloring their hearts away! ๐Ÿ“˜

We were able to open up our donation suitcases to divide all of the toys and school supplies for everyone. Something that was very heartwarming about the school supplies is that they told us it would last them until January. ๐Ÿ“(WOW). Throughout the morning, we were able to play with the children with all of their newly donated toys on their courtyard. The kids were having a blast and it was awesome to see how much they became comfortable with us as the day went on ๐Ÿ‘‘. 
Although the morning was full of fun and games, we as nursing students did notice a few things about these children. Some of these children have not quite reached their correct developmental stages of life. For example, an 8 year old girl did not know how to use a skipping rope. They have all had such hard lives before entering the orphanage, and it is definitely something that we are going to take back with us to Cape Breton. Being able to be so open to a different type of world was great, but really there are things like this that happen at home as well๐ŸŒŽ. We think it was important for us as nursing students to be exposed to this environment, as it is something we will never forget.

 One of the biggest highlights of the day was when a little boy told us that us being there was like "magic"๐Ÿ’–

Stay tuned for tomorrows blog post! Thanks for reading!



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