2010 Daily Journal
June 25, 2010
2010 Meet the Team
What was said to be a long walk turned into quite a memorable experience for our group today. After a warm traditional welcome from Fabian, the mayor of Morochos at Lago Cuicocha we jumped in some pickup trucks to drive to the trailhead. Less than an hour into this beautiful hike at 10,000+ feet with beautiful views of the sacred Imbabura Volcano, we encountered a major obstacle! After strong rains the previous week, the bridge in front of us was washed out! Nothing was going to keep this group from the Alpacas so we headed straight up the mountainside through thick grasses, some with thorns and pines to watch out for. Many hands were offered to get us all successfully over a cold, rocky clear stream to get back on the trail.
Water is a major key to the ability to live and farm here and the source on this mountain is very important to the people. Fabian proudly showed us the purity of the water by dipping a drink with a folded leaf.
Surrounded by grazing Alpacas, we took a break on a grassy hillside and listened to Fabian tell us about the Alpaca project that he has been involved with for 10 years. His people have been through a struggle and come out well. Their starting herd was diminished to four because of pumas, but with help from Heifer International, they have a healthy 105 today.
Music, dancing, food, and games were the culmination of this enlightening and challenging afternoon. Inti Raymi celebrations to honor Pachamama, Mother Earth, have been going on since June 21 and today was the last day and time for a big party down in Cotacachi, but some of the villagers stayed to welcome us! Nutritious Quinoa soup, toasted corn and then loaded down plates were generously shared with us, and we passed around cuy, another traditional food – Guinea Pig!
Stuffed with potatoes, maize, queso, y carne, we headed out to enjoy the festivities, shop from the crafts they had produced from the Alpacas, dance, and even played volleyball.
It seemed like such a long time ago that we were leaving Otavalo. Security was all over the place for the visits of three presidents, from Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, and Ecuador to meet with ideas of creating something like a United States of South America.
We were treated with a rainbow on our long bus ride to Mindo where we'll be entering the Cloud Forest!
—Las Amigas al otro lado de las Americas, Robyn, Sarah, Elsi, and Katherine
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