Article originally posted on Lucjan's personal blog
From the reflective calm of the sunny coast
To the Israeli friend I made for two days, with whom I hiked the highest I ever hiked and went for an uneventful if not entertaining double Tinder date with in Cuenca
To the drive north through the Andes to my new volunteering in El Terreno, Atandahua, which was so beautiful it made me teary
To the happiest weeks of my life and my friends high, high up in Atandahua, with whom every day the slow walk up the hill to the farm was blessed by a glimpse of mighty Chimborazo, with whom every hour was marked by the experience of something wonderful (standing in the back of a camioneta truck to take the blasting air and sing cheesy songs, the sight of someone leaning out of the window walking their horse up the road), and every minute was spent in kind company and good humour (sorry that I locked that dog in the kitchen that you then thought was a murderer trying to break into the house when he tried to get out in the middle of the night, I was really drunk),
Good morning Chimbo, and some tools ready to dig ditches.
To the birthday party that they threw me
Children’s piñata moments before being shithoused by a group of non-children.
To the community that greeted me as veci, neighbour, and shared their beautiful land with me, as well as copious cups of lethally intoxicating pájaro azul
To the surreal parade through Guanajo for San Pedro, where our organisation championed going green (‘go gringo!’ we self-consciously and erroneously chanted amongst earnest neighbourhood communities and church groups), and where we danced and ate empanadas and drank yet more pájaro azul
Our recycled plastic candle holders were also a contrast to the elaborate torches carried by the locals. They also gave off wicked fumes as they melted, which sort of defied our message.
To the Danish Princess, with whom time whiled away under the rain-drummed roof and at the top of the farm, our dog Zorro resting alertly at our feet and clouds passing through the high night sky, made my stay in El Terreno so sweet
Pictured, exchanging cultures.
To the best tourist town in the world, where I threw myself down all sorts of beautiful scenery and bathed like a capybara with the Ecuadorians in their thermal baths.
To the dream-filled journey down, down from the mountains back to the airport from whens I came, and a melancholy goodbye to the country I illegally over-stayed in for six months,
And a small but expectant Hello to Colombia.
Volunteer at El Terreno
Come and be apart of building a cultural exchange centre in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes. You'll have the opportunity to get to know a unique culture, practice your Spanish with warm local people and get hands on a variety of interesting projects.