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Gringos Gone Wild - Hope Mayhew

After arriving in Quito and attempting to acclimatise to the altitude for a couple of days the two groups went their separate ways off and into Ecuadorean wilderness. Group B have headed off and up to the Andes to the chilcabamba community in search of even less oxygen.

Having been told methods to aid the adjustment to high altitude, one being to not do strenuous exercise we were ready to rumble. With that in mind we spent our first morning being sent off with spades, wellies and hoes galore to rid the canal of all its sand.. Not at all strenuous they said. Still the hard work was actually a lot of fun and all bare toes survived.. Just about.

Having succeeded at the canal we made our way back down the path towards the exposed water pipes. Our next task would be to dig up turf and carry it up the hill, repeatedly, until the water pipes were covered. Some of us were able to work the hoe better than others. For most of us this is where the strenuous exercise took its toll, but again we managed to complete the work, and just in time for lunch. Back we headed to the volunteer house for another delicious meal. All meals have been thoroughly appreciated so far, so a huge thanks to Francisca and Olympia for keeping the groups belly satisfied.

Alonso has had to endure the groups karoke ability already on a daily basis, whilst we sit around the fire after supper, shuffling throughout a range of classics. FYI Alonso is a fan of Shakira.

We’ve also been immersed in Ecuador politics by being woken up by an announcement about a local protest happening in Otavalo. Not amused.

In free time we have taken to the basketball court for an aggressive version of the game with no rules. Claudine putting up an almighty fight in defence. Despite proclaiming she doesn’t care about the game.

Spanish lessons have been a bundle of fun, with all but two of us attending the complete beginners class. We’ve left our first couple of Spanish lessons leaving the poor teacher a little bewildered. To quote Harry our attempts have been “A Beautiful Failure”.

Harry has been able to most accurately describe the scenic Andes so far. It’s just so “causally dramatic”.

This weekend we’re hoping to head to the colourful market, so family make your present requests now. On Sunday we may go for a hike around the Cuicocha Lake. We shall report back.

We’re doing things some of us never thought we’d ever do including lying on the floor whilst trying to header a ball and eating vegetarian/vegan food. So far we’re all having a ball, with lots of sh*ts and gigs .. Perhaps less so for Sara, but presumably that will have to change soon.

We’ll keep you updated.

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