On Friday, we took the public bus (first time for both of us!) to Tena, a city 4-5 hours north of Macas. What an experience that was!! People board the buses at every stop to sell various foods, books, or eye drops...whatever they have to sell! Mom and I got some fresh sugar cane to suck on and another fruit that looked like grape tomatoes (can't remember the name!). The view from the bus window were absolutely breath-taking...I don't ever get accustomed to seeing those majestic mountains! We could see for miles...teal blue skies and rows and rows of jungle-covered mountains! Between that and good mother-daughter catch-up time, the time passed quite quickly!
We got to Tena Friday late afternoon and checked into our Hotel Los Yutzos, that Steve Thompson had arranged for us. Our reason in going to Tena was to visit the medical mission team from Tupelo/HBC (and more) that was working there with Steve Thompson. The hotel was absolutely a paradise...the first air conditioning I've felt since I left home! (In Macas, there is rarely a need for air conditioning or heat!)
Mom and I enjoyed exploring the hotel jungle gardens and walking around Tena a bit. We ate dinner at a pizza place that our taxi driver had recommended. It was delicious, including our appetizer of popcorn! Mom got mora juice and I had naranjilla-- both were delicious.
The team from Tupelo arrived on late Saturday afternoon, so Mom and I had some time on Saturday to explore Tena, do a little Christmas shopping, and eat a delicious lunch at Cafe Tortuga by the river. We saw all types of interesting things...this being probably the most interesting to you...
the meat market.
We met this little lady at one of the shops and took a picture with her. When we did that, she was so excited about it that she closed down the store and walked us down the street to her daughter's Internet Shop to get her email address so I could send her the picture! I've never seen someone so excited about a picture! She was precious. As with lots of Ecuadorians who are wondering about this young "gringa" girl, I got to share why I am in Ecuador, which is a great opportunity to share about Christ.
When the team arrived, my first big hug came from Dr. Dave Gilliland. Oh I can't tell you how wonderful it was to see everyone! My heart was nearly ready to burst! After the team put their luggage in their rooms, we left for Monkey Island, "Misahualli", 15 minutes away, for a canoe ride down the river to a Shuar Village where we received a tour through the jungle with various plants, animals and traditionally dressed children!
There were boa constrictors to take pictures with...this is as close as I got.
Our Canoe Ride!
Sunday afternoon, Mom and I took the bus back home and made it (safely) there without too many interesting events! The rest of the week, Mom taught classes with me at school and we enjoyed learning how life operates in Macas...bread stores, grocery markets, LONG hikes to and from school, lighting the oven with a candle, and paying 10cents to use the public bathroom (using your own tissue, that is.) We had such a wonderful time and it did my heart such good to have my mom here in Macas! God is so good!
When we got back to Macas on Sunday, my new teaching/living/everything else buddy was here, Alyssa Falkner, from Thaxton, MS! I am SOOOO glad to have her here! She worked as a chef at Park Heights so I am learning LOTS of new recipes and really enjoying having someone to talk to in ENGLISH!! :)
She also does a much better job at updating her blog, which you can see here! http://alyssafalkner.blogspot.com
Thank you for your prayers as we begin teaching school Monday, Sept 5th! Woo! I'm excited with a little bit of nervousness, but can't WAIT to see my students! I am praying that their hearts would be softened to learn about Christ's sacrifice and great love for them.
Thank you for your encouragement and prayers!
If you didn't get a newsletter from me this week and would like to get one...send me an email or leave a comment here with your mailing address!
Love to you from Macas!