The difference? Mountains. Big mountains. Lakes. Fresh air. Cold air. Trees. 13,000 ft. in altitude. The beauty is stunning.
The altitude captured by breath immediately and
left me a bit lightheaded as we overlooked the miracle. I felt high with joy at this new world. The change in altitude is humbling for any hiker. Maybe it was because of the lack of oxygen or the fact that I didnt get one minute of real sleep on the overnight bus. Or maybe it was because I was away from the city where I forgot about fresh air, quiet, solitude, and personal space. But this place did not seem real.
After the family melted into the kitchen,two dreadlocked Israelean travelers dropped of their bags. They were on the trail for a good 6 hours and managed to hike around the crater. Then came a 20 year old Canadien who told me that she travelled alone because she didnt have to compromise, and so she could meet interesting people. Another cup of green tea. Still no sleep. These travelers blew me away with their stories, their lives, their plans, their philosophy. Then came in a couple or Equatorians, a dude from Uruguay, and an Argentinian traveler who brought out a hookah for the new community to share. The lodge filled with a sweet smoke as we conversed in Spanish, English, and Hebrew.
back towards Quito Our new Canadien friend stayed with us to celebrate the holiday with the Equadorian family at their cemetary. The celebration is a mourning. It is to remember your ancestors. To remember that they live in you.
We visited several houses from 7am-7pm. We had the oportunity to share food and conversation. The explained their lives, their hopes, their struggles. In the midst the symptoms of structural injustice, seeing the Dole brand name that reaps all the profits from these peoples´ land and labor, my eyes were sore. I saw so much, I met so many people. And then I left. I have the option to go back home. But do I do about this injustice? And, in my opinion, donations wont fix this one
Back in Duran, I had a day to rest before I hit the road again. This time we drove through miles and miles of banana plantations to give out medical supplies to former leprocy patients living in rural Ecuator. The isolation of these families is astounding. Children walk miles upon miles to go to school. Clean water is an empty promise. They live as small farmers, with the hens, the pigs, the dogs, and the expanse of their crops. This is not a romantic idea, considering that the household income is $35 dollars a week. No medicine. No doctors. No stores. Most tragically, no options. $35 is the weekly income for a family of 6.