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Monday, March 30, 2009

Hey there,

How is everyone doing? Well we have been back in Ecuador for over a week now and as usual, time is flying by. My last week was a bit sad because it was Aaron´s last week in Ecuador. Despite the fact that we have become pretty good friends and he is a great guy to work with, he was also the only other dude at this project at the time, so to watch him leave really sucked for a multiple of reasons.

Other than that though, the week was fantastic. Dom Williams and his wife Doreen (GVI Directors of the projects in Central and South America) were here for the week. They were here to say hi to all the volunteers and to check out all of the projects. It was great to have them here. Besides the fact that they are great people, it was also nice to hear their opinion on how Nic and I are doing as interns. Happy to report we weren´t fired. Both Dom and Doreen seemed happy with our efforts to date and were very encouraging for both Nicole and I. And who is kidding who, it always is nice to hear that someone thinks you are doing a good job.

We did not make it up to school on Monday last week because the roads where washed out due to a huge rain storm. At first I was very shocked that we couldn´t make it to school because there was no longer a road to travel on and then I thought that this was Ecuador´s version of a snow storm back home. I am sure the kids here pray for rain storms and landslides like I used to pray for snowstorms. The rest of the week we made it up to the school with no problems. Friday was a really fun day because Friday the government teacher had a course to attend, so it was just the kids, the volunteers and myself. I don´t know who was more excited that the teacher wasn´t at school on Friday, the kids or me. Friday consisited of Phys. Ed, a nature walk, an early recess (that lasted a little long) and Art. I mean what kid wouldn´t love a day like that. The nature walk was pretty cool. We walked up and down mountains and took in some pretty amazing scenery and just in case you are wondering, we had the whole school playing the "Soupi" game on our walk. Like I said, a great week.

Our week ended with an adventure. A bigger adenture than we bargained for but an adventure nonetheless. Nicole, Erin (another volunteer) and myself decided that this was the weekend to summit Mt. Imbabura. We set out at 5 am on Sunday morning and we were all pumped for the day ahead of us. After an hour and a half drive to our starting point we started climbing around 6 45 am and we were told that we should summit in about 5 hours.
At the start our guide seemed like a guy who knew what he was doing. Well that feeling quickly changed and our real adventure began shortly after we all realized that our guide had no idea what he was doing or where he was taking us. The climb up seemed a little sketchy and looking back now it was probably way more dangerous than it should have been. On two occassions we scaled two very steep sections of the mountain (that we all thought we shouldn´t be doing without protective equipment) and then once we made it up those sections we noticed a path that was clearly the route we should have taken. Our guide told us that there were many routes that people take and that was just one of them. That´s fine, I mean we made it up and it was a huge adrenaline rush, so maybe we were getting the really good tour...
Well, we summited almost exactly four hours after we started and it was amazing. There was only one problem, we didn´t have our lunch with us. We didn´t have our lunch with us because the other guide carrying our lunch couldn´t make it to the top. No problem, we will just head down and when we meet him, we will eat. Well, apparently our guides didn´t exchange information on where the other would be and we went the wrong route (becomes a theme for the day) and didn´t end up where our lunch was. Well after some more dangerous (and unneccessary) climbing we made it to our lunch and a good lunch it was. After lunch (and giving our ´guides´ time to catch their breath we procedded to head back down to the location we had just left. Again, these guys weren´t much for planning.
So, we have eaten and now we are ready to make our descent. Great because our guide knows a short cut. Nicole pointed out to him the path that we could see that looked to be the one that heads down the mountain, you know the one that other people use. "Yep, that´s just one route, trust me, I know where I am going". Perfect, you have been a great guide to date, so what´s not to trust. Well, after getting us lost three or four more times and taking us down "paths" just to tell us that we have to return up the mountian to start again, we finally made it into a forest. We couldn´t see where we were headed as we were socked in with clouds but just knew we needed to head in the general downward direction.
I almost forgot to mention, that we had to constantly wait for our guide as he was climbing down backwards on all fours, probably should have tipped us off to how experienced this guy was. He also ran out of water and asked us for ours, that´s right, our guide was getting water from us. So, trying to be nice we gave him our water bottle so he could have a drink. Well, I should have mentioned that we might need some more water ourselves, but I didn´t metion that and that is why it is my fault that he procceded to drink the rest of our water. Keep in mind we have now been on the mountain for about 3 hours more than we expected to be and we were nowhere near getting off yet. But who needs water, right... Well the forest was a blast. It started to rain and hail (yeah hail) and the "path" we were on was pretty much a water slide. I fell about 15 times and used some pretty colorful language, my dad would be proud. Well after 4 and half hours of walking through a forest and just as it started to get dark we came out of the forest and onto a farmers field. We could see a town and only had about another 3 miles to go to reach civilization. Our 6 -7 hour climb turned into a 13 hour adventure. I am glad to say that we made it down in one piece, just really dirty and a little thirsty. Anyways, we were both really tired this morning.

keep it real,



  1. Guide probably didn't get the customary tip, did he....?

  2. Hey, Mt. Imbabura, is that all you got?????

  3. yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wow!!! betcha it won't be forgotten 4 awhile. Happy Birthday Troy!!!!! Sorry we are a little late. We moved across town and just got our computer up and running again. Brie is getting over pneumonia and Paige has a broken ankle. IS THAT ALL U GOT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love you and think of you often.