A short update written by Rosie:
After a very long journey, we were thrilled to finally reach our home in Otavalo. Everyone enjoyed the coziness of the hostel, especially the delicious homecooked meals and some of the best hot cocoa we have ever tasted. We did some awesome hiking through the neighboring mountains, visiting waterfalls and lakes and hearing the local legend about a giant who lived near the lagoon.
We also really enjoyed visiting the nearby school, where we spent nearly two hours playing and talking with kids who were very patience with our Spanish and gave us beautiful new hairdos and flowers. We took a weaving workshop, which was far more challenging than anyone expected, so we all greatly appreciated the tapestries we saw for sale at the market in town. Our last night was an awesome surprise, when we were visited by a group of muscians. Adam and Annie taught us some dance steps and we had lots of fun dancing and roasting marshmallows by the fire.
Orientation was great for everyone, and we loved spending time in such a beautiful location, while we got to know each other and practice Spanish.
Also, an update from Annie and Adam: The students are enjoying the drive back and forth from their homestays, taking in the view while driving with the driver Don Rodrigo from home to home at the beginning and end of each day. They are learning their way around and getting to know the different homes around the community. The first day on the work site, the group collected rocks from the river. Yesterday they built an outdoor kitchen and today, began digging holes and trenches for the foundation for the building.
The students all enjoyed the surprise of an ice cream truck that came through the community. The homestays are going well, students are connecting with their new host families enjoying playing cards and singing as well as learning how to cook new foods and live a different way of life.