Hello from the house of my training host family in Tumbaco, Ecuador. We're back in town four months after swear-in for our first in-service training called Reconnect. The idea of the workshop is to learn how to better work with our counterparts (the leaders in our communities) and get some other work done like making fun recycled art (I'm excited to do what I learned even just on my own!) and receiving immunizations and such.
It was very strange coming back to Tumbaco, very much like coming home. I left Monday morning on the 6 a.m. bus to Riobamba, hardly sleeping a wink the night before because I always get a little neurotic when I travel nowadays. I had to do laundry the day before despite the rain, and of course my clothes didn't dry so I had them draped all over my room. They still didn't dry and ended up bringing a backpack of wet clothes to drape around my room in Tumbaco. I piled a bowl of rabbit chow in Moo's cage and stuffed it full of fresh grass... hopefully my host will feed her, but I'm really worried she's not going to be ok.
The trip was easy and fluid but very long. Two hours to Riobamba, four to Quito, one or two hours riding the trolley buses to the right terminal, and 45 minutes to Tumbaco. My counterpart arrived just after me. We took the bus back but in the morning, my little mini cluster of volunteers met on our old street corner, stopped by the bakery we always visited each morning during training, and walked the hour journey to the training center on the bike trail. I thought we'd never get to walk that trail together again...it was just like "old times."
This week of training has flown by and already tomorrow, Friday, is the last day. After lunch, volunteers go back to their sites or on to vacations.
As for me...
I'm climbing COTOPAXI!!!!!
Cotopaxi is Ecuador's most frequently climbed mountain, an active volcano 19,347 feet high. We'll be staying at the refuge (which is located just over 15,000 feet) Saturday night and getting an alpine start on Sunday morning. If we feel good and have cooperating weather, we should be on the summit at dawn. I'm ridiculously excited, but also sanely nervous. Should be fun!