I have arrived.
Well, my body has at least. My mind still can’t seem to wrap it’s hands around the fact that my home for the foreseeable future is Ecuador. This tiny country, about the size of Colorado, hosts the most diversity of any other country I have had the pleasure of experiencing. Lying on the equator (who would have guessed), it is divided into three major regions: The flat coastal plains to the west (la costa), the highlands of the Andean mountain range (la sierra), and of course the dense, humid, and mysterious jungle (el oriente) to the east. Lucky for me, after touching down at the new Quito airport, my old host family was there to scoop me up and take me to their farm/estate nearby so I could sleep off the 15+ hours of transit I had just endured. Cheap flight.
The following morning, I was to report to the offices of The Yanapuma Foundation (my current employer), to begin a very lengthy and detail laden discussion of my duties for the next 10 weeks. As the day progressed, my bosses (I have several) could tell right away that this was going to be a walk in the park for myself. Great news.
Did I mention that Quito is at like 10,000 feet about sea level? I fancy myself in decent shape, but DAMN. Even a short flight of stairs is leaving me panting for air. The tiny elderly woman walking up the hill beside me yesterday was straight up putting me to shame. I love this country none the less. It’s chaotic streets, the clash of the modern world and ancient culture, the looming snow-capped volcanoes visible in ever direction, and yes, oh yes, the food. Heavy on the starches, and always accompanied with some form of grilled or fried meat. Not a vegetarians paradise (shout out to Julie). The Ecuadorians need these carbs, however, because they generally lead very strenuous lives. Props.
The group of volunteers that I will be leading around the country arrives Monday, I am a mixed bowl of emotion, but most of all confident and excited. More news to come.
Thanks for reading!