Recap of the first few days in Ecuador
Our first few days have been very busy. We found a place to live, bought furniture and groceries and even began daily Spanish lessons. It has been a very fruitful time of getting things in place so we can get to work.
We have no car yet, so we take many bus and taxi rides each day. We have become pros at figuring out the bus routes and communicating with taxistas (taxi drivers). Here we are on our first bus ride (note: we don’t usually have to stand):
All of us are taking Spanish classes each week-day for 3 – 4 hours per day. We will do this for 4 weeks and then cut back to 2 days per week. This should allow us to communicate well very quickly. Of course we are already learning so much conversational Spanish each day. We were really proud to have accomplished purchasing mattresses and arranging for their delivery without the help of an interpreter!
We have made some really good friends so far. Most of them we have met at the seminary or in the various churches nearby. One of the head professors invited us to dinner at his house. This was only our 3rd day in Ecuador. The other family spoke only a little English and we knew only a little Spanish so trying to communicate was really funny. But we actually had some great conversations. The children played the game of Clue… only it was in Spanish AND our children had never played before so they didn’t know the rules. THAT was really funny. The adults had to jump in and help them all communicate. Here are some photos:
Here is the “Children’s Choir” from the indigenous church we visited on Sunday:
Here is Jonathan playing volleyball with some of the shoe shine boys at the ministry center for children. (although I think it was more like playing “monkey in the middle” and Jonathan was the monkey)Ecuador is incredibly beautiful with lots of flowers always in bloom and many fantastic birds. There are many hummingbirds here so you see them daily. Here is a shot of one perched on a branch … I’ve never seen one sitting still before.
There are many great fruits and vegetables that grow here. The bananas taste OUT OF THIS WORLD! Many things grow much larger than we are used to seeing. Here is Jonathan with one of the giant carrots:
We are getting used to the new ways of life here. Obviously the water is always a big issue. It is so full of bacteria, amoebas, etc. that even drinking a couple drops will make you sick. To help the kids remember this during their showers, they are wearing bandages over their mouths for now. Here’s Jordan showing an example:
Another habit we had to change also relates to the bathroom. Here the septic systems are not sophisticated enough to handle the toilet tissue so it has to be placed into a waste basket instead!
We did a lot of house hunting this first week. Things rent really quickly here so we had to decide quickly once we found the right place. Finally we found the perfect place for us. It is close to everything we need yet it is a little bit off the main road so it is quieter (the cities are VERY noisy here). The house we rented is a duplex that is fully surrounded by a gates and walls and is inside a community that is fully gated with 24-hour security. Unfortunately, that security is critical to us until we can speak the language better and build relationships with neighbors. We are very happy with our new home.
Here is a view from the outside:
The neighborhood has a playground, soccer field and basketball courts nearby. There are lots of sidewalks for bicycle riding also.
Here is a photo of the street outside our community:
Here is our gate and Christopher – the daytime security guard:
This is our street:
There is a lot of construction taking place in this neighborhood.
Here is the playground:
We live in Valley de los Chillos which is just over the hill from downtown Quito. Here we are surrounded by lots of mountains and volcanoes. Most of the volcanoes are completely inactive. One volcano, the Pichincha – which is in Quito, erupts every now and then and just spreads ashes everywhere (like every couple of years or so). There is a huge volcano (inactive) that is so tall its tip is covered in glaciers. You CAN see that from our house, but it is most often covered by clouds so I don’t have a good photo yet. Here is a good photo of the Pichincha volcano (it is the tallest peak).
There are many interesting things about life here relating to the household. The entire water system is a mystery. Water comes from the main system (pipes at the street) and pools into a cistern underground in the backyard. The cistern is basically a small swimming pool without the filtration system. Water pools in there and a pump system with a pressure tank pumps it into the house. To get hot water, it goes through a box that heats the water as it passes through. This is all powered by gas. However, there are no gas lines. Instead we have a gas tank – the size you can carry – that is used for all the needs in the house. Twice a week, a truck drives by and you can swap your empty gas tank for a full one for $2. For drinking and cooking water, we have the big tanks like you normally see in an office. There are also trucks that come by to exchange empty bottles for full for $2.50.
All of the fruits and vegetables have to be washed with a special detergent before eating … also because of the contamination. These are all simple things that are easy to adjust to. It’s interesting to see the problems that developing countries face. Things that are so simple in the United States that we don’t ever even think about them are so complicated here.
For those of you who aren’t bored yet… Here is a video tour of our house: