So our first week of volunteer work in the community of Agato was harder than we thought it would be to say the least! Our host families make up for it with how lovely and kind they all are (and with their generous portions and fresh fruit juice 3 times a day!). Safe to say that what they eat is definitely different to the UK, but I am enjoying it and I’ve made a new discovery which is definitely coming home with me – popcorn soup. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it because it’s so good!
Our first day was hard – it was hot and achey as we spent the whole morning hoeing and weeding a field for planting as a part of the ‘minga’ which is when the community come together to help complete projects. It’s easy to get bogged down in the hard work at home, but here it’s virtually impossible due to the surroundings which are just something else. On one side is the magnificent Imbabura volcano, which is known as the father of the community; on the other side is the Cotacachi mountain which is known as the mother of the community.
On Thursday and Friday we were doing volunteer work at the local school in Peguche where we helped build classrooms which was a seriously dusty and hot job, but the community spirit really helped us on (as well as the children who were just adorable and wanted to constantly play!).
On Friday we had our welcoming ceremony conducted by one of the members of the community – during the ceremony he wished us good health and that we had many beautiful memories in the community with our host families; the whole experience was truly heartwarming and got to us all I think.
This weekend we did some proper relaxation… thermal baths, hot springs and a spa in the mountains, heated by the volcano Chachimbira. We spent hours just lounging around in the sun and in the baths which were at least 45 degrees, work may be tricky tomorrow!