Here are the thoughts of Joanna nee Lake as she spends time in Ecuador, and beyond... Disciple, Fairtrade Freak, Psychologist in the making. Now part of the Blundell Jones clan.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The seasoned traveller!

So, over the last 2 weeks I’ve managed to fit in quite a bit of last-minute traveling,get ready for some waffling...


Last weekend I popped down to Cuenca with the primary purpose of saying goodbye to a 3 sisters who had been in the girls house here in quito but have moved down to the house in Cuenca. Tati was supposed to have rung them to warn the ‘responable’ at least that I was coming, only she didn’t, so although I was extremely enthusiastically greeted by a surprised Mayra, and the other 2 sisters, the woman in charge regarded me with extreme caution and almost coldness it felt… and when the pastor arrived I felt almost like I was being interrogated! Horrible! But anyway, Mayra (12) very proudly gave me a tour of the house, introducing me to everyone, then her and her sisters (Diana,14 and Maria Jose,18) excitedly asked me questions about all the girls in ‘La Embajada’ (the house where I work). So I spent the day in the children’s home there, playing with the kids, helping with lunch, taking them to the park…and then just before I left I got the gels to write a letter to the girls in quito which they really appreciated doing. They seem quite content in Cuenca but they do really miss Quito!

On the saturday I took a trip to Ingapirca, 2 and abit hours northwest of Cuenca, it’s the Ecuadorian rather measly equivalent of Macchu Pichu though worth the visit! I went with Ulf, who I met in Remar on friday, he’s a compatriot of Pascal, from the same organization but working in Remar Cuenca…so it was cool to have some company and not be a loner!!!
I came back to Quito on sunday afternoon, cheating by flying (it’s a grueling 10hrs in bus!!!) having spent the morning wandering the streets of Cuenca… it’s a beautiful colonial city, pretty laid back and they have a REALLY different accent down there, almost like they are singing when they speak and the Quiteños can’t stand it!! All in all though I liked Cuenca, and would heartily recommend my hostal ‘Milan’, the only thing was just as I was thinking how lovely it was to sit by the river in the sun and how it would make a great picnic spot, I saw a rat pass by!!! Urghhh!!!

So near yet so far, dreams thwarted by the weather...
Monday morning I popped into Remar for 1½hrs before catching a bus down to Ambato to meet David (other strider) and his visiting friend, Will. We were going to Shell (a wee village named after the company! Hmm) to have an encounter with the Huaroni, aka the Aucas (‘Savages’ in Quechua), the Indian peoples who became widely known in the 50s after they murdered 5 american missionaries. Our contact was through some American missionary friends of David’s who are working in the HCJB hospital in Shell.

We arrived about 6pm in Shell to be greeted by the hot stickyness of the jungle region and an interesting medley of creature sounds, there are some bugs who just sound like a load of sirens going off all the time, VERY bizarre!! Frances informed us that she'd got us a MAF flight booked for 2pm the next afternoon for a wee visit to an Auca community, and also to fly out over Palm Beach, where the murders took place (kind of morbid I guess but I have a great interest in this whole story as I wrote an essay on one of the missionaries during my time in Redcliffe).

Tuesday morning we took a wee trip into Puyo, the last stop before the jungle, for a wander and got back to Arthur and Frances’ in time for lunch… we rung just to check about our flight and were sadly informed that they couldn’t fit us in coz of some emergency to which they had to attend, but they said we could go the following morning at 7am… so, a little disappointed we found something else to do for the afternoon – first of all Frances gave us a tour of the hospital, then we wandered around Shell (there’s not really anything to see) until we came to the river… so we were sat there watching the kids play in the water when a whole load of new army recruits came marching by and proceeded to do some kind of extremely bizarre exercise in the water, boots and all! Hardwork! I remember once trying to swim in my pajamas in a swimming class and that was hard enough, let alone in an army uniform!!!

The following morning, we woke up to rain! it didn’t look promising but after breakfast we wandered over to the MAF hanger to await the rain stoppage and our flight out into the jungle… sometimes it rains then clears up quick, though after 4 hrs waiting, it became clear that the rain had settled in for the day, and, as we had to get back to Ambato/Quito, we rather disappointedly admitted defeat, that our flight was a ‘no-go’ and say our goodbyes. Though it wasn’t all bad as during our wait an Ecuadorian guy came over to chat to us, and it turned out he was a ‘teacher’ at the wee bible college they’ve opened in the community we were going see, so it was really cool and encouraging to hear abit more about it even if we didn’t get to see it! So, I’ll just have to come back to Ecuador one day to complete that wee dream, another excuse for a return visit!

School starts
The Remar school has now been going for 2 weeks, slighty ropey start but things are back in the swing now… English classes have started again but the responsilbilty has been handed over, Pascal is now in charge …although part of me would have liked to have been involved, even for just a little bit, it’s better this way, and I spent a good morning explaining to Pascal what Anne and I did last year, giving a few tips and ideas which hopefully will have set him in goodstead for the challenges and joys of teaching to come!!! It’s been good to see all the kids back in the house again, though I’m not getting much time to spend with them!


Yesterday it was Tatiana’s birthday and poor thing she ended up a complete mess!!! The celebrations didn’t start until the afternoon…first the girls decorated the dining room with ballons and streamers and things, and then finally the birthday lunch was ready ---which the mother-in-law had been preparing for 2 days previously (a special ‘tamal’, a maize meat veg thingy wrapped in plaintain leaf)… the lunch was eaten, then it was time for the cake… Everyone gathered round and of course there came cries of ‘Que muerde el pastel’ (that she bites the cake), Tati lifted the cake to her face saying nobody push me, but of course Ivan (the husband of the responable of the boys home, a real joker!) pushed her head right in, and as that happened, a load of the kids got her with eggs –more than 10 I reckon… and then began the ‘battle’… tati covered in egg yolk and shells ran outside to try and catch the culprits, only as she tried to catch them they threw more eggs and flour as well… this went on for ages, then Ivan came out with a bucket of water and soaked tati with that, more eggs, more flour and Claudia, the wife of Tati’s nephew, even managed to crack an egg in tati’s trousers! Poor thing she was well and truly got! And what was really funny (in a kind of cruel way?) was how upset Valentina got (her 4yr old daughter) at her mother’s plight, she was crying, and shouting at people and pushing/punching them to get them to stop! Finally it came to an end but not before they threw another bucket of water and a bucket of some kind of goo over her and of course more eggs and flour! She had it bad but it was very amusing and she was still smiling. Though I didn’t get to see her after she came out of the shower to find out if she did enjoy it as I had to leave!!

So that has been my past 2 weeks, JUST 2 more to go!! I know I have to leave, but part of me doesn’t want to go, although obviously part of me does! But I am looking forward to seeing yous…but its hard to leave and really doesn't seem real!
God bless
me xx


Blogger James said...


Sounds like you've been busy. Must be in to your last week - hope it's a good one and not too sad.

Must be exciting to be heading back to the UK!

8:32 PM

Blogger rubeydoo said...

do you have any idea why their culture yells "Que muerde el pastel" at birthday celebrations?

11:44 AM


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