well..here it is exactly a month from the day that i left for ecuador and I realize that I haven't posted a thing about it..which is sad, because it was probably the most meaningful week of my life..so far.
i don't know where to begin though, because you know how it is, when you have been somewhere and it was great and you want to tell everyone about it and make them all go..but then you realize that they won't understand because reality is standing in the way..the reality is, that they didnt' go and they can't see the places or the people's faces that you see in your head when you talk about it (and even when you don't talk about it) so as hard as they may try or as interested as they may be, its different for them. anyway what i'm saying is, i have been to ecuador and you haven't so its hard for me to tell you what its like because of..reality. but i'll try to give you a quick run-down of the week..
for those of you that don't already know, i didn't plan on going to ecuador. i had no intention of going on this trip at all..but God stepped in and things worked out and the money came and there i was on march 19th in the airport hugging my parents goodbye with my passport in hand..having no clue really where i was going or what i would be doing or even why i was going..but i'm glad i went. i'm really, really, glad I went.
and so i arrived..or we arrived, all 15 of us..the 15 most random people ever-in Quito, Ecuador about 9 hours later..tired and cranky..only to ride in 2 vans (that barely run to begin with) up the side of a mountain, on a dirt road, straight into a civil riot which consisted of a wall of fire, running across the enitre road and needless to say, we could not pass through fire or continue to travel to the orphanage by our planned route..and so we had to ride for about 2 more hours onto roads that somehow, thankfully lead to where we were going, which was our home for the week: camp bellevue (the first two pictures on the right are of cabins at the camp) i don't remember anything else from that night besides collapsing in my clothes on what was quite possibly the most uncomfortable bed i had ever laid on..
and the next thing i knew i wanted to murder debbie faught who was overly-excited about singing "rise and shine and give God the glory" to wake up the four of us girls, who had somehow fallen into a coma-like state of rest on a one-inch think matress.. (refer to the picture to the right containing the ugliest sheets known to man).
and thats how the week began. from that point on its hard to distinguish the days we spent at the camp apart from one another..because we basically did the same thing every day: woke up, ate breakfast (which was WONDERFUL, as was all the food at the camp) (after breakfast, and every other meal, i was priveleged to partake in an insightful 30 minutes with nicky faught and glen laird while washing dishes),
came back to the cabin to get our work clothes on: (see picture to the right, below-- you must remember that they are work clothes, not for looks, strictly for working..)
and then loaded up the vans and rode about a half a mile to the hacienda, (which is on the same property as the camp..it makes a nice walk actually...or run..for some reason me and whitney decided we would run it..which was totally stupid and I laid on the ground when we got done trying to find some air to breathe for the next hour) and then we worked. and working was not fun..i'll just be honest. it entailed hauling wheel-barrows full of bricks and dirt up and back down a mountain..which would be a hard task here in the states, but we were on top of a mountain at 9800 feet..and it is extremely hard to breathe there..making our tasks seem much harder..but we made it. (the picture on the left: the faughts and mr. laird working on the trail..)
so we would work on the trail until about noon then we would go back to camp and eat. after lunch we had about an hour or so of free time which i usually spent taking a nap or cleaning up (it was very muddy) although some times, depending on how long we had, we would play cards or games in the mess hall. then it was back to work until about four, when we quit working and went to a devo with the kids from the orphanage (the Hacienda of Hope-picture on the left is the hacienda). we would listen to their devo (it was in spanish..) and then do a skit for them (also in spanish) and sing with them (sometimes in english, mostly in spanish). the devos were a special time, because we didn't get to spend much time with the kids, and although i could barely understand a word that was said, just being there with them all and knowing that we were all praising the same God, regardeless of what language we were speaking, meant alot. after the devos we would load up, head back to camp, clean up, and eat. i'm not really sure what we did after that..i think we probably laid around or took a nap, but the last thing we did every night was have a group devo, in english!
and that was pretty much life at camp. there were a couple more things..one day we took a prayer walk around the hacienda property, which was very special, to hear the children pray (see picture at right)..at nights sometimes we watched LOST: season one on Jerrys laptop (the missionary)...and one night there was a lightning storm. that night, watching that storm, is probably my favorite memory. never before in my life have I seen the power of God on display like it was that night..i'll never forget that night for as long as i live. For the first time in my life I was so in awe of God that I could not pray..I could not speak, I could not really move at all. I was dumb-founded. and from that point on for the rest of the trip I found it hard to pray..not in a bad way, in a good way..it was hard because for the first time I realized the magnitude of who I was talking to..and I realized that nothing I could say would be good enough to thank Him..so I would just sit and "be still and know."
we left camp on friday morning and headed to quito. this part of the trip is also a blur..it all happened so fast..but basically we went to some tourist sights in the city, got settled in our new hotel, shopped some, and then ate..and the next day we went to "la mitad del mundial" (the middle of the world, the equator monument) (pictures on right, on the bottom one, i am standing on both hemispheres of the world AT THE SAME TIME!)..while we were there we shopped and took picutres and then we left and shopped some more and ate..we went to a beautiful old chuch called a "basicilla" where we were able to climb to the tallest tower and take in the most spectacular view of the city (pictures on left)..like i said I can't really remember everything or what day we did what..but I do remember the restaraunt we ate at that night had the best pineapple juice you'll ever have..and i got way too many refills..my bill must have been insane (thanks Mr. Burton!)..after that we went back to the hotel and the next thing I knew, my eyes opened and saw the numbers 4:00AM on the alarm clock.. we got ready and packed, headed downstairs for a last breakfast, loaded up and headed to the airport. and in the airport it hit me, that the trip was over. that we were leaving the country. I have never wanted to stay anywhere as badly as I wanted to stay in Ecuador. and I got sad, really sad. I just didn't want to leave. I considered losing my passport or something..anything..just to stay there..but I left, we all left..and even though we had some very fun times in the houston airport that day (see pictures below, right-its ROOT beer, i promise) we finnaly, much to my dismay, arrived back here at about 9:00 sunday night. i was greeted by a small group of friends (thanks, guys) and my family..but as much as i hate to say this..I did not want to be home. I did not want to be in Huntsville, AL..I did not want to be in the United States at all..I did not want to be anywhere but back in Ecuador. and that was how it was for the next three to four days. I was in culture shock from the minute that I walked into school monday morning until about friday or saturday..I just couldn't get used to the way things are here and I just didn't want to be here. But I got over it, because I am here and there is nothing I can do about it..but I still think about it all the time and I can see the places we went and the faces of the people in Ecuador..I can still see the mountains and the lightning storm in the sky..a part of me is still there. And will be, until next year when I can go back..