History and Adventure en la Sierra
This is already the ending of week two here in Ecuador. Last week we were able to visit the Equator which was a great experience. Our orientation program took us to various museums to learn and explore various parts of the Sierra region in Ecuador.
We were able to visit the Equator where we learn a lot about its history and its people. To prove that we were in the middle of the world they had us do a couple of test. Some of us were able to balance an egg on a needle (which I couldn’t believe my eyes), we attempted to walk the latitude line o’ o’ o’’ (which was very difficult), along with a couple of more interesting activities. I was very fascinated by all of this. While I was standing in the middle of the world, I felt proud and accomplished for doing something that has never been done before.
We then were able to learn about the different indigenous cultures that are found in Ecuador. Ecuador has approximately 12-14 different indigenous language that still exist today (impressive huh?). We were able to visit the home of an indigenous family and they were very welcoming and kind. They took us around their home and spoke to us a little bit about their culture. A few things that I learned from their culture were that they spoke Kichwa—which is a language spoken in 14 different towns all over the Amazon, the cost, and all over the Andes region. Their specialty dish and their most prized animal is the Guinea Pig. For us Americans and for other people in different parts of the world, would see a Guinea pig as a pet; people in Sierra (the northern part of Ecuador), Guinea pigs (El cui) are food. I wasn’t given the opportunity to try a Guinea Pig yet, but from what I’ve heard it taste just like chicken. I’m going to be here for quite some time, so if and when I do get the opportunity too, I will let you know.
To end the last week of training, we were taken to a town called Riobamba—which is a town in the north that has the highest volcano in Ecuador. The volcano Chimborazo is 6,268 meters (20,564 ft) high above ground. Chimborazo is in very high altitude. We were given the opportunity to climb Chimborazo, but only to the first and second refuge. I was only able to climb to the first refuge because the high altitude was making me feel very dizzy. I was able to drink some hot tea and sit around a nice wood fire with some friends of the program. I must add that during this first week in the North part of Ecuador, it was very cold. I was not well informed that it was going to be cold in the Sierra region of Ecuador.
Overall, this past week has been a phenomenal week. I was able to learn a lot about the Ecuadorian history, and visit a lot of their historical landmarks. I am very pleased with my choice of study abroad program. All the people that I’ve encountered here thus far have been wonderful and helpful. The fall exchange group has been a wonderful support group for each other and I couldn’t ask for a better experiences then this one!