viernes, 24 de julio de 2009

Farewell of our beloved Joanne

At 74 years old, Joanne from New Zealand was one of our most active and adventuresome students. She was attending our school since March, and after 3 months, she decided, for much to the joy of everyone, to extend her staying for another month in Ecuador to continuing her studies. Unfortunately, that month came fast and we had a farewell for her, where she gave us a soft heartening farewell speech and sponsored chips with guacamole and a cake. For sure her family could not wait to have her back home any longer. Life is life and good times sometimes are over sooner that we would want.

During that time, it was also the last weekend for two other students, Jerry from Canada who was staying with us for 6 weeks, and Lindsay from the US who was here for 3 weeks. They as well delivered a little speech. We had a very nice, but on the same time sad celebration.

Joanne: It was very nice to meet you and we all had a great time with you, we wish you all the best and hope that you will come back to Quito soon!

The whole Vida Verde Team

lunes, 20 de julio de 2009

Weekend at the beach


Our adventurous transportation for the weekend
This weekend, we were actually planning to go to the "Fiestas del Chagra" (sort of a cowboy festival) in Machachi, which was cancelled due to an animal epidemic. So we had to find a "Plan B" quickly, and we decided to go to the beach, more precisely to Muisne, which is a small island in the Province of Esmeraldas. To get there, we had to take the night bus on Friday. After a 6 hours ride we arrived in Esmeraldas, and after a 5 minutes wait we could enter another bus from the company "Costeñita" which brought us to the part of Muisne which is located on the mainland. There were already small boats waiting which brought us for $0.20 per person to the island. Once we arrived at the island (after a 2-3 mins boat-trip), there were tricicletas (vehicle with three wheels, pushed or pulled by a motorcycle, look at the picture) waiting, the most common means of transportation, since cars can just enter through a little ferry and have to pay a fee to enter the island. This tricicletas brought us from the little town directly to the beach, where we met a friend of us who is volunteering there, Janine, and her Ecuadorian boyfriend, Gorcky. They accompanied us to our hostel which was called "Playa Paraíso" and soon we found out that the hostel itself wasn't really a paradise as it was not too clean not to mention very old (e.g. the door to one of our rooms wasn't closable, so the custodian had to fix it first, what just partly succeeded, and for locking the doors we just got rusty locks). But the hostel was located directly at the beach, which was definitely an advantage.
The weather didn't look too pleasant yet, but we were confident that the sun would show up soon, thing that unfortunately didn't happen the whole day. Despite that we didn't get discouraged and went to a little village’s festival where we ate some typical food. In the afternoon, Gorcky organized a boat tour for us to the mangrove forest and later to the Isla Bonita, which was lots of fun. At night, we had dinner in a delicious little seafood restaurant. Afterwards, we went to a beach bar with a nice bonfire at the beach where we were hanging out for a while. On Sunday, the weather was still not better, so after a visit in the town and a walk at the beach we got our luggage ready and went for lunch to the same restaurant from the evening before, and again it was delicious. Finally, we already had to head back to Quito where we arrived at 11 at night.

Boattour to the mangrove forest

Relaxing on the Isla Bonita

lunes, 13 de julio de 2009

Otavalo

Last Saturday, we went for a one-day trip to Otavalo on a private bus (a small van). Unfortunately, two of the students who were supposed to come with us, got sick on Friday night, so we were a very little group. The program we had planned was great: starting at the animal market and ending in the Condor Park. For being able to do everything we wanted, we had to leave at 6.30 a.m. By 8.30 a.m. we arrived at the animal market in Otavalo, which is very interesting to see. They sell chickens, pigs, cows, dogs, cats, guinea pigs (cuy) and rabbits. This market takes place just on Saturday mornings for about 3 hours and is therefore always crowded.

After strolling around for half an hour, we got in our little bus again and headed to the "Cascada de Peguche", a very beautiful waterfall close to Quito. There, we spent about an hour walking around and climbing a bit up and afterwards we went to the Otavalo Market, one of the most important and spectacular handicraft markets in Latin America. We needed about 2 1/2 hours until everyone had what he/she was looking for and after that we were so hungry that we entered a restaurant first for having a delicious "almuerzo."

In the afternoon, we went to the Condor Park of Otavalo, a rehabilitation center for condors, eagles and other types of birds. Many of the species which found a home in the park were rescued from illegal captivity or inadequate housing. It was very impressing to see these animals from so close, and at 4.30 p.m. they even had a free flight show. It was a great day, we saw so many things but without having been in a hurry.