We spent the day with multiple team building exercises so we could get to know each member on the Ecuador team better.
We started the morning with Carlos. We told Carlos how we have been touched by the local people and his team while helping with the Church. A very good exchange of touching moments from many of us. We ended the session with all of us circling Carlos and praying over him for continued blessing of the mission.
We headed to Church for a quick breakfast to prepare for our immersion into the local culture for the day. We headed out in two directions. One group headed south for a city experience, while the other headed north for a marine experience. The southern group spent the day with Luis and Jimmy and the northern group spent some time with Sedri.
The southern group made a stop at a historic volcanic site. While the group explored the site, we caught Luis taking a nap. I guess we’ve worn him out this week. The site has a volcanic mud puddle we tried. We remember Jesus putting mud on eyes of a blind man so he could see. We hoped the mud would make our bodies recover from the aches we have. The kids tried out the sulfur pool for its medicinal effects on their bug bites. We then got back into the car and headed to the town of Salinas. There we met up with Carlos at a local restaurant. That gave each of us a chance to practice our Spanish while reading the menu and ordering. The dishes were great. We then walked to the beach where Carlos had a surprise boat ride set up for us. We toured the beautiful shore line and saw several buoys of birds called the “blue footed booby”. Yes, their feet are blue. We then headed back home and had a last chance encounter with the local authorities. They were full of grace today and sent us on our way.
The Northern group went to the town of Puerto Lopez where they caught a boat with several locals and international visitors for the hour ride to the island of Planta which is a national park. They were treated to fresh fruit and sandwiches by the crew. The coordinator gave an overview of the island and plants then turned them loose to explore. They took a two and a half hour hike exploring the plants and animals in the area, including a large frigate bird colony. After the hike, they snorkeled at the the base of a cliff.
We ended the night at Madera’s Pizzeria in Montanita. We had great service and the pizza was great. We had good fellowship and some of the group tried their skills at bargaining with the local merchants. It was a great day as we bounded as a team and prepared ourselves for the last couple days of work.