The day started with breakfast followed by multiple trips up and down the gravel stairs, lugging our bags to be loaded in the vehicles. We wanted a relatively early start as the drive from Tena to Quito was supposed to take five or six hours. However, in the last couple of years a new highway was built, a more direct route, and we arrived in Quito after a short three hours.
As we passed from jungle to mountain terrain we stopped to see a few sights (volcanoes, mountain lakes) and took advantage of the few photo ops remaining. Our first stop in Quito was at McDonald’s for lunch before heading back to the District Ministry Centre, the same place we spent our first two nights in Ecuador. It felt nice to return “home” although this return meant the long goodbye to Jefferson and Rosita. There were so many tears! We each hugged and thanked them and bid them farewell. The hardest was to see Matt and Kerri-Lynn saying an indefinite goodbye to such good friends. A few more tears were cried even after the truck was out of sight (Dana drove Jefferson and Rosita to their bus stop) and we began to re-pack our bags in preparation for air travel as the girls team and the boys team filmed their trip skits.
Kerri-Lynn and I had enough time for a second trip to Green Wall Market for some last minute gift purchases. Kerri-Lynn took “orders” from anyone who wanted something extra, and Shirley, one of the missionaries in Quito (her and her husband share a yard with the District Ministry Centre ), drove us there. We did a quick scan of the shops, efficiently checking off the things on our list. We stopped at a chinese restaurant on the way home to pick up supper.
The evening remained emotional as the Howards, the missionary family who gave their time and energy to drive us all over the country, prepare our meals, plan our entertainment, and translate for us, said their goodbyes and presented us each with a certificate of appreciation. They would not see us off at the airport. After more tears and sad goodbyes, we settled in to watch End of the Spear a movie about Nate Saint. A few team members fell asleep during the film, which, in my own opinion, was a good thing as we had to be up early to be at the airport by 4am.
This day sort of blends into the travel day as most of the team didn’t sleep at all that night, and those of us who did got a max of two hours.