The Inn | University Ministries | University Presbyterian Church | World Deputation

Team Ecuador – Post 1: by Leonardo Lee

So unlike the other teams, we did not go across the Pacific or Atlantic ocean.
The team: Brittany Cook, Melissa Nipert, Sean Anderson, and myself Leonardo Lee.

Our first impressions of this gorgeous land were varied (This was from the airport):
myself (Leo) – looks like Cambodia! (the airport specifically)
Melissa – look at the glowing toll booth stopper things for cars!
Sean – *overwhelmed*
Brittany – OMG there´s so many people.

We were pooped when we got off the plane. It was midnight (we went to sleep at 2am) when we got through customs and all that jazz. Washington greeted us, not George but the pastor of the church we will be working at. Finding me first (figures as I am the only asian, later he chuckled at my observation of this) Washington introduced us his son Benji (the one Erica told us to pester) and also to Liana.

It was culture shock, I was overwhelmed by the fact I understood none of the words of this language (Brittany is the other on the trip that does not speak spanish, I think this is the hemisphere where my knowledge of Korean and Japanese would not help at all).

The landscape is beautiful, it reminds me of Korea, mashed with California. Cotacatchi is the town we are stayng in, it is two hours from Quito, the capital and the place where we landed. Cotacatchi is named after one of the active volcanoes sandwich the town. We were told the volcanoes were safe. The architecture reminds me of Cambodia and Mexico and graffiti is prevalent.

The weather is cold in the wet season, which is ending soon. In fact today was the first day of intense sunshine. It is going to be a blast.

The noise at night is entertaining, but keeps us a bit tired. We are next to a circus and we have witnessed calisthenic dances. A word that we struggled to find out what is means was Alabonza. We found out it means worship music, much to our surprise. Other cultural things we experienced: the sun dance (which coincidentally started when we arrived in Ecuador), bread, Pescado, the statue of Michael the Arcangel. The sun dance was dangerous, as they murder anyone who is dancing with other groups (I would think people would encourage dancing of many instead of attack one another). From this ceremony we saw a body of a dead indian as he was hit by a car trying to cross the freeway.

Each day has been entirely different. Our first day from arriving was a day of relaxing and getting to know Washington´s family. The second we spent repainting cement tilings for a roof. The third was orientating ourselves with the English pastor and cultural definitions of gender roles. Today we did worship sermons and youth activities.

Animals, the dogs seem smarter, but disease is more common, cows are pretty chill. We have not seen llamas or alpacas though much to my disappointment.

Our days are fluid, we work hard, start eary and end early. We are told what we will be doing the night before, and it feels like this is an adventure. We have lots of free time (lots of reading) and I have been studying music and theology as well.

For all back at home I hope you are all doing well, to all those who are praying for our trip thanks, and I hope to see you all soon. God bless.

Leo

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