Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Where in the World are Danny and Aaron??

Just in case anyone was wondering that question i beat you all to the punch!! mwahahaha I apologize it's been so long since i wrote last, but we're are doing well and since the last post we have added a new adventurer!!

There he is!! Seanzy is here and ready to adventure-ize Ecuador with us. We've done a lot since Tena, it almost seems like a different trip at this point. Ecuador changes so much within a few hour bus ride, it's hard to believe! We left Tena (the Jungle) and headed for the coast, more specifically to Salinas. 

Salinas was great! A super kind and hospitable congregation, we made some really great friends there. As our spanish improves it gets easier and easier to make friends in the Spanish congregations that we are visiting, but its still amazing how kind and helpful the friends are despite the language barrier. Salinas is right on a bit of a peninsula, and is about a mile from La Chocolatera. Contrary to my first guess, it is not a place were chocolate is made. It's actually the furthest point West in South America.

And there is Aaron cautiously peering over the end of the world. We were later told that was a bad idea because of the waves

Aaron managed to survive, adn we both got to go out in service to the "Pueblos". In spanish it just just means towns, but in Salinas it meant more or less Seldom worked territory. About a 30 minute bus ride takes us to two small towns that the congregation in Salinas trys to go to once a week. The preaching work in Salinas can be a bit difficult because many people are not home ( A good number of the houses are summer homes for wealthy people that live and work in guayaquil) but people still listen when you find them. In the pueblos though, people listen like i had never seen up to that point. Nearly everyone would listen, even to our broken spanish. here is our group!

oh that last one... is after... service.. on another day.. thats not actually me.. we found a guy sleeping.. that looked like me...

Took a trip to Guayaquil with some friends from the congregation. Saw some pretty cool stuff!
We found a McDonalds.. and ate at it.. and it was delicious. Nothing against beans and rice everyday but..... wait what am I saying I do have something against beans and rice everyday. I'll just say it was a nice change of pace from our noraml diet!
We also found a nice statue!

First Quiz of the day!! Which does not belong?!

Yup, a big iguana, and we found all his friends too

And then they all found us

Had a lot of fun in Guayaquil! The weekend after we returned to Guayaquil to visit the Branch there, which is beautiful!

Our room at Bethel. By far the nicest room we've had yet

There are about 140 in the family at the branch here. Small, but adequate in order to care for the needs of the branch. We also got to go on a Kichwa study with a couple from the branch. That is a ridiculous language, and I didn't understand a word! But it was amazing to see the effort the branch, and individual brothers and sisters are putting forth to reach people in their native languages.

We took a day to explore La Ruta Del Sol also, to exlpore some of the coast! 

All in all, Salinas was great, and we miss the congregation. But we must move one! Next we headed to Monte Criste right after picking up Sean from the airport in Guayaquil! A bit north of Salinas and about 15 minutes from the coast, it's a small town that we were told has a territory that is exploding with interest and the congregation is in need of brothers also. Here is the whole town

Small.. and boring.. BUT, the preaching is amazing. All the pioneers have full schedules of studies, and there are plenty more to be had. It's amazing to be able to spend 15 min at every single door. And after fifteen minutes, we leave, but only because i have said everything i can in spanish on the topic. It's incredible.

This past weekend we headed to Quito for the first Special Assembly Day in English ever in Ecuador! A hop, skip, and an 11 hour bus ride, and we're in Quito by 2 in the morning sat night! Plenty of time to find a hostal, figure out where the assembly is, eat something for the first time all day, and get a good nights sleep! We managed to do all that, and it was worth it. The assembly hall was really nice, and there was an attendance of nearly 400! impressive when there are only about 3-4 small English congregations and a couple groups in the whole country. A testament to the number of need greaters in the country

The Next day, we headed to Mitad Del Mundo, or the middle of the world!!

 Aaron listening to my command, "Do something awesome!!"
 Attempt at moving the Equator...
 Oh look, hes got the world in the palm of his hand!! haaa...ahhaa.....ha.

Some egg-standin-up-activities (which FUN FACT: is possible all year long on the Equator!)

Took a night bus back to Monte Criste, aaand missed service. So we went to the beach! In Manta, the closest beach to Monte Criste, and also a pretty big city

Well that about brings us to now. Hope this isn't too long and boring to read, i'll try to post more frequently from now on. We're still plotting out our next few weeks, but let me assure you, the next time I write, will be after this. Hope everyone is well, The Three Amigos all send their love.. to whoever is reading this.. that it applies to.. so like.. if you dont know one of us, you can pretty much figure it doesnt apply to you, from whoever you dont know.. but someone loves you..probably.. or its possible none of us love you... i dont really know who is following this.. but we hope EVERYONE reading this is doing well!!!

-Giant Ecuador Adventure(r)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Daily Grind

Heeelllllo Everyone! Sorry its been so long since the last update, but im still alive!! We've done a couple exciting things recently, but i also want to describe what a normal day is like here in Tena for us. But FIRST, the exciting things! A few days ago we got a boat to take us up and down the mishualli river with stops at an animal rehabilitation center, a museum dedicated to the native people, and a local Quechuan tribe. That was a lot of fun! some animals at the rehabilitation center

This is a spider monkey! biggest species in ecuador, and.. in the world?(i think dont quote me on it)

This monkeu tried to fight me.. a couple times

and this monkey threw dirt at us through his cage.. lots of monkeys in Ecuador..
3 meter Boa!

Got back on the boat, pretty cool ride

The Museum was pretty cool also. He showed us a bunch of trees in the jungle and their medicinal purposes, then examples of all the traps the natives used to use to catch food. Then there was this guy 

Thats Franco, the monkey running around the museum. he was really dirty. And really itchy. And really wanted to be friends. Franco is our favorite monkey so far. He followed us around the entire tour, trying to break everything. He had such a funny personality, as do a lot of monkeys we're finding, but this guy especially. Eventually he found a doll to be his friend, as pictured. But he just ripped its clothes off and swung it around him on the ground the rest of the time. He was the best.

We also went and explored a cave!!!! That was so fun!!

 Thats our guide. He fit just fine through the tiny passage ways...

We went swimming right under this waterfall, there were small holes of water, the deepest was about 13 feet, but theyre only about as wide as a garbage can. That was pretty awesome in a cave. The whole tour was $2. We agreed it was worth it. Yesterday we went rafting. That is a little over $2 but everyone told us it is a must do while in Ecuador, and they were right! A group of 5 of us and two guides that were both brothers (in both senses of the word) brought us down a completley remote Clas IV jungle canyon. We didnt see another raft all day, only a native from a tribe every once in a while toward the end as we got near civilization. That was a lot of fun, I'm glad we went for it.

I think that sums up the exciting things! But most days are a bit more subdued than that. Heres what a normal day in Tena has been like for us. Get up around 730 for service. Group is at 830 and we need about 20 to 30 min to get to the group depending on how long we have to wait for a bus. We walk up our road, about a quarter mile walk

To the luxurious bus stop!

 Hop on the bus for 25 cents into town (I realize this is the worst picture ever, but you'd be surprised how awkward it is trying to take a picture of a crowded bus.. actually maybe you wouldnt be surprised, it sounds pretty awkward. Anyway the day i remember to bring my camera the only seat is right in the front of the bus. I tried to be sly and turn my flash off and take the picture from under my backpack, but what i forgot about was the orange light that still flashes before every picture, that landed on all those peoples faces and gave them time to track it to the source in my lap.. the rest of that bus ride was a bit awkward. SO! Although a terrible picture, im still putting it on because of the effort it took to get it!)

A walk through town brings us to the service group at the hall.

Service is till about 12 here (if you're fortunate). Then all the pioneers go on studies if they have them, and everyone else goes home. This makes it super tough to make our time, but we're doing our best! I have one study, and one return visit that im gooing to start studying with on the next visit! Then we get lunch at a small place in town for $1.75, which is a bowl of soup, juice, and a main course (rice, beans, small portion of salad, and steak or chicken) I like that part of the day! We usually make it back to the house around 2, and have the reast of the day to study, find a place to use computers, go the gym (closet packed with ecuadorians using old rusty wieghts), or whatever else we want to do, although there aren't really any activities in Tena itself, besides eating cheap meals. There are a few pool halls. We tried to visit one of them, but when we told the woman we wanted to play she mummbled a few spanish words and just stared at us.. needless to say we haven't played pool yet! Meetings are thursday at 7 pm and Sunday at 830 am. Every Sunday night we play soccer with the brothers, and Monday nights is Watchtower study at the Pratts house! (brother from New Zealand) In a week we head to Salinas on the coast, about an 8 hour bus ride. My love for buses is growing by the day!! Thats all for now i think, although i always remeber things afterwards I wanted to include. Oh well, hope everyone is dealing ok with all the snow! Sounds pretty crazy!! I'll write again soon!

Giant Ecuador Adventure(r)