Day 13: Waterfall party

Today all of TSC, Tandana, and our host families packed into busses and drove to a camp ground. This was to get everyone together in one place and have a nice bonding moment with both the people from America and the people from Tangali. It was a somewhat shorter drive to the campground so that was nice, but the amount of bugs that were flying around was not. I had bug spray on my arms and legs and I still got bites all over my body, including one on my butt that’s really annoying. Hauna laid out blankets over a long table outside and then poured a bunch of things on it. Some of the stuff included potatoes, like eight different types of beans, guacamole, and sausage. The catch to this is that all of the stuff poured was all on top of each other, and we had to use our hands to get everything we wanted. Traditionally, you would pick up all the stuff you wanted and eat it from your hands, but since us Americans are very scared of eating things without utensils and plates, Tandana provided us with, you guessed it, plates and utensils. Since most of the stuff on the table was just unflavored carbs, they weren’t all that outstanding, but it was a solid meal. Afterwards, Jessica W and I passed the Frisbee with my host family (as usual) and they really got into it. My brother Jordan started to get through some pretty solid throws. Next, we all walked to the waterfall nearby and it was pretty cool, but it wasn’t as cool as the first waterfall was and this one was packed with people. I would guess there were 100 people crowded around this waterfall while at the other waterfall there were only us and one family. It was definitely worse than the first since it was almost impossible to take pictures without random people photo bombing. Subsequently, we hopped back in the bus and drove back to Tangali, visited our families for a few hours, and then went up to the community center for a celebration. After many heartfelt speeches from both the Americans and the Ecuadorians, including a very emotional speech by Jessica M riddled with beautiful metaphors, we showed the Ecuadorians a taste of American culture through dance. We turned on Cupid Shuffle and we were ready to roll when we realized that they had no speakers and we had to play the song through a microphone with BriAnna’s phone. Since the music was really low quality and quiet, it was kind of awkward, but we ended up doing a decent job in the end. After that, we turned on a Latinx song to dance to something that Jessica M and Jennifer wanted to show, but only 6 people knew how to do the dance (Thomas, Jessica W, Jessica M, Jennifer, BriAnna, Lucas) and out of those 6, only 4 were comfortable doing the “fast version” (not Thomas or Jessica W). The fast version also didn’t allow anyone to join in, so that was definitely an awkward moment when the four girls were sliding around the floor out of breath with no one helping them out. Luckily, that faded away quickly when the Ecuadorians decided to show us some of their culture too. Four boys got out a drum, two guitars, and some piano looking thing and started a beat that got all of us in a circle walking around. In the circle we clapped to the beat and switched direction when the leader whistled. During the walking, one person would cross the circle and switch places with another person. Silly Brian, Ryan, and Phillip went across the circle while nae naeing, bernieing, whipping, head standing and even splitting (halfway). We did this one more time to a different song, and then we headed out. Right when I got home, my host family was ready to cook dinner and we ate about 20 minutes after our arrival. The food was beef, rice, and beans and it was delicious all mixed up in a bowl. It was served with an interesting juice made out of tree tomato that tasted different from the one that I had before that contained milk. This one had no milk in it, but it still tasted good and sweet.  After brushing my teeth with the kids, Matteo and I went to bed quickly because we were so tired from the big day. Tomorrow we leave our host families and go to Otavalo to the hostel that we stayed at when we first came to Ecuador. It will be an emotional goodbye for everyone, for we had formed such close bonds with the people that we have lived with for the past few days. Even in a short period of time, if you fully open yourself up to your host family, you can create ties that you will remember forever.

-Thomas Christensen

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