In the Pursuit of International Unity = EcuadorOctober 23, 2013
The 3rd week of my volunteering service in Peru was an unforgettable journey along the Northwestern coast of the continent.
Bienvenido a Ecuador!
Aside from the 28 hours spent on a bus in both directions, this might be described as a perfect tour.
The first three days with Laura, about whom I wrote last time, we spent in Guayaquil - the capital of the economic growth
of Ecuador, where we took part in the 6th IAVE Latin America Regional Volunteer Conference.
In theory, as two girls under the age of 25 working for a small NGO, we were supposed to participate in the events dedicated to younger volunteers from the region as well as having our own informational stand for Native of Peru. Nevertheless, before moving to Ecuador we contacted the National Representative of Volunteering Service in Peru - Oscar Bravo Castillo. After familiarizing him with the mission of Native of Peru and our dedication to it, he invited us to participate in the other part of the conference dedicated to the largest NGOs and corporations from the region exchanging their strategies and experience. To be honest, the registration fee for inclusion in that part of the conference was extremely expensive - more than US $1,000....can you imagine?!
Thanks to that event we met representatives from many different countries in Latin America. And by having so many international contacts with people from various environments, we have an excellent opportunity to cooperate and learn more. Anyways, to start from the very beginning...
Already on our way to Ecuador, we had neither booked accommodation nor any friends living there. The only trace possibility was a friend of a friend from Lima who was at another conference dedicated to plastic surgery. His name is Marvin Espinosa. After getting out of the bus in Guayaquil, he was waiting for us at the bus station with his friend Sonia. They found us the hotel - the same in which Marvin was accommodated. We spent 2 evenings together before Marvin was bound back for home in Loja.
Short personal digression about the Guayaquil:
1. In the suburbs (where our hotel was located) all facilities located on the streets are closed between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. Running or walking along the sidewalk you’re never alone thanks to the rats and cockroaches crossing your direction while from time to time someone in a hood follows you in the dark.
2. After crossing the city centre and one of Guayaquil’s bridges, you get into “the district of money” where the turnover of $ is in constant flux. So consequently it’s the neighborhood with constant security and available commodities.
3. Even though Guayaquil is one of the most developed cities in Ecuador with numerous inhabitants and students, clubs are opened only from Thursday-Sunday. During weekdays after 11 p.m. you can’t even find anything to eat because everything is closed. And another interesting bit - all day Sunday businesses and restaurants are prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages!
According to some friends I met from Guayaquil, they wouldn’t take any other city over theirs because of its climate, comfort and the lack of the "harsh desire of money". They had previously lived in Miami for three years before returning to Ecuador.
And I can't forget about the basic fruit of Ecuador - the banana! Honestly, I was the only one person at the conference who ate 5-6 bananas every day. What a taste - delicious!
After an intensive three days in Guayaquil, and in response to Marvin’s invitation, we moved to Loja. It is a very cute city located in the south of Ecuador in a valley surrounded by mountains. It’s a city of services and production where the level of education is one of the highest in the entire country. We were only able to spend one day but it was enough to fall in love with its amazing climate.
Just have a look!
That’s why I want to say "Thank You!" to Marvin and his family for hosting and guiding us to beautiful Loja!
Some personal observations:
1. Almost 90% of the population in Loja has successfully completed a stage of higher education.
2. The level of living is very high (Acc. To Laura who lives in Huaral, the poorest districts of Loja are comparable to the general overview of housing estates in her city).
3. Regardless of your current location or destination, you'll always navigate by means of one-directional streets.
4. One of the job requirements to become a policeman is fluency in English.
5. Numerous inhabitants are able to purchase new cars every year and what is interesting - almost half of new vehicles don’t have number plates. Why? Because the year of their production is the following year, and the buyers have to wait until January of the new year to get a number plate for their cars.
After such a pleasant and surprising day in Loja, we spent the next 28 hours again on the bus. Nevertheless, in order to vary our return tour a little bit we traded one bus for another three times.
In summation I can easily say that we had more luck than sense!
Every piece of information relating to the description of the cities in this blog are my personal observations and are not taken from any official literary or economic sources!
All for today, see you next time!