If you’re visiting for the first time, you might want to start at the beginning. Click here to view the posts in chronological order.
About two years ago I read a news article about a family that took a “gap year” and traveled to South America. The parents commented about the powerful life lessons that their children learned from the experience. I was immediately taken back to when I was 19 years old and I served a mission trip for my faith. As a teenager I traveled to the Philippines and stayed for two years. I learned the language, I learned the culture, I experienced challenges and most importantly I loved the people.
I returned home a changed individual — much because of the faith-promoting experiences I had, but also because of the conditions that my friends lived in. Many lived in self-made homes no larger than the shed that might be in your back yard. The materials were often scraps of wood and plastic that were replaced when better parts could be obtained.
I was welcomed into their homes, they shared their food and I felt their love. The way I perceived happiness and its relationship to the material things of the world was flipped upside down. I’ll never forget when my flight home lifted off the ground — as I looked out over the communities where I had lived I cried like a baby.
After I read the “gap year” article I forwarded the link to Maggi along with “We should do this.” Her response back was simply “For how long?” Many spouses might have been shocked by such an idea, but earlier in her life Maggi also went on a lengthy mission trip to Boliva. Our first date was spent sharing our experiences overseas and how much we changed. We were on the same page long ago.
Over the course of the following year we dreamed and schemed about how we could accomplish an international experience for our children. We spent our date nights creating plus-and-minus lists and sharing ideas on where we could go. Every time one of our children would complain about not having one thing or another, the idea became more cemented in our minds that we should make it happen.
So after much planning and preparation we departed the Atlanta airport on June 4th, 2019 headed for Ecuador! We hope that this blog will allow our friends and family to share in our adventure. Please ask us questions and we’ll answer them. Our children will also be contributing so that they can share their perspectives. Stay tuned!
Outside of our apartment, there’s a garden that has almost every fruit vegetable or herb you can think of. One surprising thing is you can’t walk ten feet “3 meters” without seeing an avocado tree and they are just everywhere! the country is beautiful with many flowers and fruits when you try to pick a favorite you just see another more or equally beautiful.
Cotacachi is not a very big city, but when walking it seems huge. There are bakeries every we love visiting: we get all of our bread from there; My personal favorite is pan de leche or bread of milk. It has a hard crust, but in the inside it is very fluffy almost like a cake.
In Cotacachi, there are two town squares and two parks that I know of. The smaller of the two town squares has a lot of street vendors on it, and the bigger one is just full of benches and has a few statues. The parks are very big. We went to one yesterday and There were two basketball courts a lot of slides and a work out area. The park is a little smaller with basketball court mixed in to be a soccer field as well. There are two slides and some other stuff.
Hi there, it’s me Neal! In Cotacachi Ecuador some of the most different things I’ve noticed are:
- There are many statues
- There are many people living on the streets
- The houses are mostly made from cinder blocks
- Most people have walls around there houses and are covered in broken glass
- The town is so small we don’t use the car daily
- Many stores metal garage gates at the opening
- Almost on every block you can find a bakery
- No fast food like McDonald’s
- There are many fresh fruits
- Lots of murals on the walls
- There are many stray dogs
- The playground equipment isn’t always safe
- There are many Leather shops