Any doubts I harbored about Pucará were dashed in minutes upon arriving in the community and I knew things were going to be just fine.
The drive is long and scenic, like driving to Alao only even more stunning. The mountains are rugged but more or less covered in reforested greenery. My new community is remote but well connected by a bus system to Otavalo that also continues in the opposite direction to a larger community called Apuela - where people go for market day on Sunday.
Because I´m changing sites (drastically) I´m required to live with a host family again for three months at minimum. All those anxieties I had about what kind of family I´d be living with (especially after my last experience) were also dissolved when I met Alicia, a super friendly, helpful, caring mother of three. I´ll be living in an addition to a small cement block house, in a freshly painted room (the same color as what I painted my old room!!) with a window view of volcán Cotacachi - yes, outside my room I can see snow!
But the weather in Pucará is completely different than Alao. It´s semi-tropical so the climate supports plantain trees, yuca crops, sugar cane (caña), mandarine oranges, and even some coffee plants. The climate is generally chilly or warmish at night and sunny and hot in the mornings (however, people tell me this is recent and before it would rain all the time, so I´ve been getting a kind of funny impression of the place).
Already I´ve done more in four days than I have in a year in Alao. Each day has been full of meetings, we had a minga on Saturday, I´ve been given tours all over. I probably know more people in my new site in four days than I know right now in Alao. People were so ridiculously friendly and inviting - already I have invites to at least five houses to visit and hang out. It´s overall just a completely different culture and experience. And already having a year in another part of Ecuador has really helped with integration and the likes - it´s not nearly as hard the second time around inserting myself in a new community, especially one so warm and welcoming.
Today, Tuesday, I´m back in Riobamba. I just moved most of my luggage to a volunteer´s apartment in Riobamba, and tomorrow morning I´ll cart my cat and rabbit and their things. Thursday morning, very early, I should be on my way north for good.
I promise pictures very soon, but my little digital camera broke and am waiting for my replacement.
Also, please note that I have changed my mailing address to the right if you intend to write to me :)