My apologies for interrupting our Ecuador adventures for a whole week! I’ll blame it on school, although I think I was also running out of “story-telling” steam.
Our 9th day in Ecuador started early, at 7:30am, with pancakes, homemade syrup, and watermelon (don’t tell the travel clinic!) prepared by a woman hired to do some cleaning and, when there are guests, some cooking if desired. It was left up to the individual if they wanted to get up in time for breakfast as our first outing of the day wasn’t until later in the morning.
Our first trip of the day was to a balsa wood shop. Balsa wood carving and painting is an active industry in the Puyo area. Balsa wood is incredibly light and the brightly painted parrots, turtles, snakes, and other animals made wonderful souvenirs for family and friends. Jonathan and I bought some very small carvings for our families and also bought a “family” of three small parrots and a turtle to add some colour to our bookshelves (sidenote: these little carvings travelled to London with us and now add colour and memories to our little flat).
Matt had a great idea and secretly asked each member of the group if they would pitch in a dollar (or was it 50 cents?) to purchase a new hand made bag for Jada-Lyn as the hand made back-pack she purchased at Green Wall Market was stolen from the van. We gifted her as soon as everyone was finished, much to her delight. It’s always so wonderful to work together for the benefit of another!
Before lunch we went for a tour of the Nate Saint House, which was only a few blocks away from our accommodation. Nate Saint was a missionary who brought his family along with four other missionary families to Shell in the late 1940s and early 1950s. An avid pilot, he flew small airplanes over the jungles of Ecuador in an effort to make contact with the Waodani people. Saint, along with his friends Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian were killed by the Waodanis shortly after coming into contact with them. The large house, used to house the five missionary families, has since fallen victim to termites and is currently being restored. The restoration is being completed by volunteers, one of whom stopped his construction work long enough to give us a tour of the house and share the Nate Saint story.
After a brief interlude at our accommodation we rushed off for lunch at a restaurant in Puyo. Unfortunately, we rushed too quickly and accidentally forgot Zak, who had fallen asleep in a hammock on the back porch. At the restaurant, Mary turned to me and asked if Zak was still in the washroom. Sitting at a separate table, I had no idea whether or not he was in the washroom. “He’s been in there a really long time,” agreed Rick and Jorge. Matt checked the washroom and that’s when we realized that we had left him behind. Oh! I can speak for all four leaders when I say we felt terrible, awful! Matt and Kerri-Lynn along with Sherri and a few others rushed back to find Zak, hardly perturbed, having only been awake for the last four or five minutes. There was much rejoicing and cheering when he arrived and we agreed that the parents would never, ever hear this awful and funny story.
After lunch it was time for Kidztown! Our first show was in a woman’s yard. She eagerly showed me around her garden and told me the names of various flowers in Spanish. She also graciously gave me a plant, which I took, although ultimately left it in Shell, knowing that I would lose the battle with customs when we returned home. After the show the children received small bags of popcorn while we were treated to sugar cane. Quicly, we sucked the juice out the wood and were off to our second show. We were extra careful to count off in the van before departing.
Our second show was in the middle of a dusty gravel street in front of a Nazarene Church, still in Puyo. We had plenty of time to hang out and play with the kids before and after the show. I’ll confess now, while I sat in the crowd and watched the magic tricks, skits, and games, I struggled to keep my eyes open. I was much revived after the show when we went into downtown Puyo to Nice Cream for, in case you couldn’t tell, ice cream. Jonathan and I were impressed by the delicious soft serve!
During our evening debrief, I was impressed by how engaged the teens were as they thought about Kidztown and how it works outside of North America. Most of the teens in our group are active members of Kidztown at home and are used to different things, for example puppet stages. It was interesting to listen as they mulled over the pros and cons of not having a puppet stage and other differences between Kidztown in Canada and Mundo De Niños in Ecuador.
After the debrief everyone had instructions to separate and begin working on their trip skits. Matt and Kerri-Lynn suggested that there be a “trip skit competition” between the boys, the girls, and the leaders and we each had to try to come up with the best skit. Each team would record their skit privately and the skits would not be revealed until the release of our Ecuador DVD. I’ll confess again, I was exhausted and in no mood to partake in the ridiculous antics required for our skit, a leader video of Justin Bieber’s “Eenie Meenie.” I quickly warmed up to the idea as we began to shoot ridiculous segments and laughed and laughed. I feel silly now for being reluctant because I’m so proud of the end result!
And, finally, I’m adding an extra picture today. I absolutely love, love, love this photo that Jonathan took of Jada-Lyn and I.