It´s “winter” here in Mindo but that doesn´t mean what you probably are thinking, the Mindo translation for “winter” is rain, every day rain. Confusing! So last year (as most of you know) I spent most of the “winter” on the coast, it was one of the worst winter in years, towns were flooded, houses destroyed, and food supplies were canoed in but Mindo was hardly affected, normal rain fall and one or two minor mudslides on the road to Quito (the capital) but this year is a different story. The road to Quito (about 50 km) had 44 landslides at one point and a “hole in the road” where 2 km of road just gave way. So I was stuck in Quito for 13 days because both roads to Mindo from this. Finally Peace Corps basically said get out of Quito and sent me to Santo Domingo (a huge loop to Mindo) and because of this my 2 hour trip turned into 8 hours. Fun. But I made it back and the nicest part was I didn´t have to come home to an empty house I had a mama tarantula and her 2 babies just chillin my shower and about 20 cockroaches. The cloud forest is a wonderful place with perfect weather for all kinds of flora and fauna. Ha. But now that I’m home I´ve been enjoying the rainy afternoon and forcing me to drink more coffee than recommended and do some quality readying. But for the real update, here is the skinny on the highlights of late:
*Because I was stuck in Quito I decided to hop on down to Latacunga (1.5 hours south of Quito) to visit a Volunteer friend and being Carnival weekend (the big celebration encouraging people to live it up before Lent!! ha ) we heard that this town 30 further south, Ambato, was having a huge parade for its fruit and flower festival. So here are some pictures of the amazingly beautiful and intricate floats. It was honestly one of the most beautiful things I´ve seen in Ecuador!
* I´ve been waiting to do repel or cannoning for a long time and finally my friend had some time to take me!! It was a normal Sunday morning all ready to hike to the waterfall, El Corazon, when these guy show up in vests that said “Ecuavisa” which is one of the main channels here in Ecuador. So I ask my friend what they were doing in Mindo and she proceeded to inform me that had come to film us repel!! Ecuavisa has a weekly show that finds cool places to visit in Ecuador. Famous in Ecuador…awesome right?? No the thing about Peace Corps is that everything require paperwork and minimum 5 signatures! Good ole Uncle Sam so not only did I NOT have permission to do an “extreme sport” and didn´t have persmission to be on television! Bad volunteer, but hey I only have 5 months left. So the segment doesn’t come out for another 3 weeks…but I’m pretty sure I´ll be receiving a phone call from peace corps. We shall see. Here are some pics.
*I am now an official journalist…with absolutely no prior experienced I was instantly hired to work for free working on the new Mindo newspaper, Mindo ECOlogico. Glad the newspaper will be free as well.
*But the new big work for me will be with an exciting program Fruta Comida, Semilla Sembrada (Fruit Food, Seed Planted) it was created by a Mindeño that has now been approved by the Ecuadorian government and added to the school curriculum. It´s a project working toward reforestation, suitability, and working to emit hunger through teaching the basic principles of gardening to children! It´s a strong project that is totally sustainable!! Too bad I found it with only 5 months left in my service. Most of the work will take place in the classroom and with school starting April 1st I will keep you updated on the progress!
Much love to you all always.