Riobamba

Riobamba was a place we stayed for one night until we headed for the Inca Parca. Effy told us thatRiobamba used to be the old capital of Ecuador — like Philly is to the United States. Therefore this city was very known but not as popular anymore,

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We stayed in this hotel that was a green house in the middle with the rooms on the outside of the common area. It was strange because it felt like you were outside the whole time but we were inside. The floors were randomly slippery too.

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We were here too long but we decided to get some drinks and to walk around the mall after we arrived. Most of us went and it looked the same as our mall. We got late night snacks and some liquor to pregame before dinner — we were told we were going to karaoke that night for dinner!!

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It was a blast!! We literally got everyone to sing from our advisors to our tour guides singing in Spanish — this group was only bunches of fun!!! After words we continued with the festivities & there was a huge football bowl game on that we all took bets and watched together in a hotel room. We got a little rowdy but it was fun and worth every second!!

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The next day, we packed our stuff up & went up into the Andes to a village where we were able to teach english, plant some seeds, watch them cook a guinea pig & play soccer with the local kids.

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First, we taught some english. I was teaching really little kids, 3-5 years old and they were already bilingual with Spanish and then another form of slang Spanish from the Tigua people. These kids were already learning their third language when I only know one at 25!! They were cute little kids and we let them keep the papers with words and pictures on it so they could study more!

After that we started to watch the process of them killing a guinea pig, then they showed us how they de-furred it. Which they twisted its neck to kill it quick (it was quite gross cause the eye balls were falling out of its head but it is how they get their protein and live so I was for seeing all of it happen). They dipped the body in hot, hot water and the fur would just peel off. From there they had to clean and take all the guts out.  They used the guts for other things to make. The translator there told us that guinea pig is the highest in protein and thats why they eat it!! And they are wild around Ecuador in some place.

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They stuck a stick threw and roasted it on a little man made fire to cook. We then went to the field to see how these indigenous people planted their seeds. We walked up to the side a of hill, the whole village at this point came over to watch us. This was a big deal having all these Americans visit and see their way of life. We were about 11,000 high and man, I could feel the elevation effecting me up here. I hoed some of the soil and planted some seeds and was out of breath due to the air!

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I grew up on a farm so this was truly fun for me to get a little dirty and plant some seeds. It is crazy this is how these people survive. From there, we moved towards the soccer field for a demonstration on shearing a sheep. Now these ladies shaved all the hair off the sheep with a pair of SCISSORS. It was unbelievable. No electric razors here!!! They told us that one full sheep skin would be for only 1 poncho!!! My group couldn’t believe it because there was sooooo much sheep fur that came off this sheep. Another women started to make the thread out of it while the others finished the sheering.

It was so fun to see their life and to have the whole town just hovering over watching all these events happening. Some had cell phone that were taking pictures of us and some of the kids were super impressed with cameras and wanted their pictures to be taken.

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Then we purchased some lunch for the whole village. We bought bread that their village produces in town and handed them out with papaya jelly on them and a mini sprite or coke!! We all got to have a little taste. From there the kids were able to show us their games they played — besides just soccer!

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We played a top game which was an old game from the indigenous people and we saw it in Quito. Then we were able to to try out it, and it was not as easy as it looked!! We also played a game with sling shots and they just shot rocks at card board. Pretty much every missed at that too — us foreigners were not accustomed to these mountain games.

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Lastly, we were able to play soccer against 4th graders. Everyone was ready for this!!!!! We had some players in our group so they were excited to play. We played two halves each of ten minutes with two groups of 7. We lost 6-0 HA!! But playing was a huge challenge up in this elevation. I ran down the “court” (cause we were on concrete) and I was out of breath within the first 3 minutes!!! I had to change out and be goalie because I the elevation was killing me.

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After we got our butts beaten by these little kids — we ate the guinea pig that we saw being prepared earlier along with beans and corn. The guinea pig was really, really salty but tasty! Lots of people were eating it off the bone while I still was feeling a little sick form the soccer game. The corn in Ecuador has to be the best thing I have ever tasted!!! It had thick kernels and was meater then any corn in the States.

Two people of our group got elevation sickness so we left a little abruptly after lunch. We brought the kids a soccer ball to keep, CSU green, and they loved it!! They chased after our bus as we left Andes to our next stop Inca Parca.

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Highlights

  • Diving into the culture of the Andes people
  • Trying guinea pig — it was really tasty!!
  • Giving back to the community and supporting their bread business
  • Everyone singing at Karaoke

Downfalls

  • Two people getting elevation sickness
  • Me almost getting sick from the elevation after the soccer game
  • Getting in trouble for being loud late night at the hotel — oops!!

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