Category Archives: Ecuador

WW – Ecuador installment


Epiphyte is the coolest word I learned

Quito, EcuadorNapo Wildlife Center – Rainforest, EcuadorIsinlivi, EcuadorMindo, Ecuador

Bellavista Lodge, outside of Mindo – off the Old Quito Highway

More more more from Ecuador!

Songbird will be home in 3 weeks. Ecuador has been magical for her. She’s working hard, staying warm, and doing some cool kid stuff. In pictures….. 

First, she’s working on a number of projects with her volunteers. On any given day she might:

Be digging trenches for water projects  Or helping kids paint murals

 She’s working on her Kichwa,  finding time for soccer with the local kids, and enjoying local customs, such as eating guinea pig.

There is some free time for play. Always the adventurer, she writes, ” I went PUENTING today….what a rush! 

She goes on to add….”Puenting = I jumped off a bridge head first and swang back and fourth over a raging river before being gently let down and pulled back to the rocky side of the ravine).” Honestly, NO MOTHER should ever have to read such things. However, note the handsome young man running the extreme experience in the picture…he *might* be convincing. 



Finally, she is working on her research project too – I’m not a scientist, but it involves some soil testing. She’s been gathering and measuring soil samples, with a little local help. She might have inspired some local researchers! I hope so.


Songbird: Excerpts from Ecuador

Songbird sends updates about once a week. They are a blast to read. I really look forward to them. I try to repay ‘in kind’ with videos for her – typically on my FB page featuring her little brother.

Her updates are fascinating and wonderful to read – this biggest daughter of mine is lovely. This last update had me giggling and understanding more clearly the arduousness of her work. While her updates are ALL worthy of sharing, I keep the bulk of her experience for her to share. Somehow, though, this one just yells for a wider audience.  I have deleted the names of the villages, per her request and also out of respect for the Amigos projects themselves.

Here is an excerpt from her latest update:

Hello back home!

Week 3 on route brought some COLD wet weather my way (shout out to mom and dad for getting my NICE boots and sending me off with a good sleeping bag and set of jackets!)…..There is snow on all the peaks here!

Tuesday was fiesta day in ________, the volunteers were struggling to get the whole community involved in the community project and campamentos, so we decided to hold a fiesta. I baked 70 cookies and carried them, along with a child sized pinata to ________ which is a half hour walk after a 2 1/2 hour bus ride…. The volunteers are struggling a bit taking initiative and getting things done, they appointed me to run the pinata (yes!). It was a lot of fun for everyone to watch the little kids swing a broom stick at the pinata and miss wildly because I kept pulling the string so the pinata would fly out of reach (this way more people got turns). Then we danced from 7-11 to caraguay/karaway music (look it up on youtube). Its pretty much a shuffle/step dance but three hours of it can really wear a person out. It was extremely awkward because the little kids danced with me and the volunteers while most of the parents and older kids sat around and watched us. But one of the best AMIGOS lessons (and maybe  lessons) is: EMBRACE THE AWKWARD MOMENTS.

One of my vols and I and a friend of ours were also almost eaten my dogs on the way back from dinner one night. That was also quite an experience. Pitch black, foggy, cold, one flashlight and a lot of growling, barking, mean mean dogs surrounding us. We made it back home all in one piece, though I felt the adrenaline of the walk in my knees and nervous laugh. I had my bag off my shoulder ready to swing at any dog that got too close.

I also made a fire only using hot coals and damp wood and paper!

On Thursday morning I walked to _______  where my vols were eagerly awaiting my arrival hoping for letters from home. The girls there have done a great job adapting to the weather. Mornings are beautiful and sunny (in general) and by 12 or 1 it is cloudy, rainy and COLD. The girls have gone from crying to go home everyday to building a great relationship with their host family and are now being invited my more families to eat lunch at their houses. They even made pizza on sunday in a house that has an oven – unfortunately they spent that night vomiting it back up. But they said it was worth it. Nothing too exciting happened in ______  this week other than platano colada and french fries with a fired egg for breakfast…and recieving some religious magazines from a missionary because I haven’t read the bible yet… 🙂 Oh wait…the COLD was the most exciting thing that happened. It was crazy cold. Props to my vols that are living there for 7 weeks!

Friday! I got my butt out of cold _____  and during the hike up to _______ could feel my feet and comfortably wiggle my toes for the first time in 2 days! The families and the volunteers are doing great and love each other a lot. I was able to go to the last few minutes of the campamento and see the art the kids were doing. It was pretty amazing for such little kids. We played some silly games outside after the kids were done drawing and I almost died laughing. We also provided excellent entertainment for the adults who were gathering for a community meeting. I havent heard people laugh that hard since I got here (excluding those of us that live in staff house).

And Saturday! I finally showered and do not stink like cooking fire, sheep, wet feet and whatever else I smelled and felt like.

I love you all! I’m sending hugs and kisses and will eat plenty of guacamole for you in the next three days before the next route week begins.

Here are some other fun comments:
About the bus:…..Taking the bus is always a fun adventure, especially because no one ever believes I really want to get off where I ask to get off.
About cooking:……Cooking has been an excellent way to connect with the women. I also learned to crochet (very poorly). It provides incredible amusement to all the girls and women who have been helping me along.

Aren’t you all jealous of her experience? I am!!!! Love love love this girl, and MISS HER SO MUCH!

Songbird’s Wordless Wednesday

Ecuador 2010

A message for Songbird

Songbird’s First Pictures from the Field (Ecuador)