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Nomadic Hands


ECUADOR | Tuesday, 26 August 2008 | Views [2598]

The party for the 15 year old girls birthday in Ecuador!

The party for the 15 year old girls birthday in Ecuador!

Alright!! I´m finally in Ecuador! On one of the buses I caught up here (from Loja to Cuenca) three women got on very distraught. They had been robbed of everything by three men with guns! One of the women was holding a child only one year old… thank goodness they weren´t hurt.

I have had to catch many buses from Lima after getting robbed myself. I first caught a bus to Piura (15hrs), then another immediately to Macara (3hrs), where another was waiting to take me straight away to Loja (8hrs). But I was starving, as there hadn´t been a stop where I could eat, and so even though this bus was already running half and hour late, the bus driver kindly waited for me to get some takeaway food for just over $1USD. I didn´t realise the currency was the United States Dollar here.

I was also surprised when I was getting off the bus that someone actually let me out into the isle before them! In Peru this never happened… if you didn´t push your way out, you had to wait till everyone else was off the bus, even if you are in the first few seats!

Another strange thing happened. I met an orthodontist and an economist on one bus, and then again another orthodontist and economist on the very next bus! The orthodontist I met on this next bus, named Jose, invited me to stay with him and his family in a town close by Cuenca called Jeres Calchur, which is in the mountains. Seeing as the bus arrived at 3am, I decided to take him up on his offer.

I could finally sleep horizontally again! The next morning after his mother cooked me breakfast, I went with Jose and his sister (Lorena) to a place further up in the mountains called Chochahuayco to watch Jose play soccer. I could hear on the way up lambs baahing and cows mooing, and I could see blue eucalyptus trees, cows, sheep, chickens, and tiny houses and churches made from wood and mud.

Everyone was happy as Jose´s team won the soccer match, even though Jose stacked it on the field made of asphalt a few times. I found it hilarious that his sister had screamed loudly and terrifyingly every time the ball went near the other team´s goal.

After the soccer match, Lorena, Jose and I went to the shops and markets, and watched some of their other family members buy huge quantities of pink party supplies for one girl´s 15th birthday. When a girl turns 15 here, it is as extravagant as a wedding in Australia!! I watched a long ceremony in a church and then to a house where there were more ceremonial traditions, speeches, and later, a fiesta.

The fiesta was across the road from Jose´s house, and went on till the early hours of the morning. I danced and ate, but ended up going to bed early, as I was still tired from the bus trips. I couldn´t really sleep much anyway as I was practically dancing in bed, listening to the amazing music that was blaring throughout the street.

The next morning I knew it was time to get back on the road again. Jose, Lorena, hjosseline (their 7 year old sister), and their mother, all came with me to the bus terminal to see me off, and asked when I would be back to visit them. I really hope I get to see them again.

I caught the final buses from Cuenca to Macas, and then Macas to Puyo, which took me a total of 12 ½ hours. When I was at a 15 minute food stop, I sat in a restaurant to eat a meal with a local who had sat with me. I turned to look out the door when I heard loud sirens going off, and to my amusement, found that it was just a long, green, dinosaur train full of families cruising down the street.  

I arrived in Puyo at 3am, and so decided to sleep in the terminal on the dirt floor, and wait till daylight to ring Pascual (my contact for the next environmental project), so to not wake him at such a ridiculous hour.

I met Pascual in the morning and we discussed what each of us is trying to do with our projects. Pascual grew up in the Amazon with the Shiwiar tribal people, and tomorrow, I will be flying in to live with them for a month, and learn about their culture, and what they are doing to help fight off oil exploitation. I am incredibly excited!

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