Finally, after being home a week, I've got a few minutes to start sharing a little about our amazing trip to Ecuador! I know we didn't go for the food, but as many of you will realize, it is always part of whatever I do and wherever I get to travel- I'm sure most of you would say the same!!
Today's memory will be of our first evening in Macas. It is a lovely little town of about 30,000 people. I call it lovely because the smells, sights and smiles are forever part of my heart. We arrived in Macas in the afternoon on Sunday, July 12th after a rather bumpy ride in a 30-passenger airplane- of which our entire team took up the whole plane. It was probably pretty amazing to see the Andes as we flew over them, but I was relegated to the very back seat of the plane that unfortunately had no windows. 10 minutes into the air, and the flight attendant walked down the very narrow aisle with drinkable yogurt as well as a nice snack which I didn't partake in as a kindness to the team member who was sitting next to me willing herself (and praying) not to be ill during our 45 minute trip. Upon landing, we could feel the humidity and see the lushness of the area in full bloom. We had made it to Macas where we would be experiencing so many exciting things for 12 days~ including some of the most delicious food I have ever eaten!
Once checked in to our hotel, we headed to Emanuel Christian School for dinner and to look at the place we would be spending most of our waking hours for the next week and a half. We walked up the steps to the cafeteria which is very open and airy~ and very warm during the day as I would soon find out thanks to a metal roof. The kitchen crew~ Hermana Patricia and daughter Valeria (our breakfast cooks), Hermana Gina (our "jefe de cocina" or "chef of the kitchen") and Hermana Carmita ("jefe segundo" or "assistant chef") had put together a welcome dinner of empanadas filled with chicken and veggies that were absolutely amazing! The crust was flaky, the chicken tender, and the veggies were totally fresh. It was served with a salad that was as tasty and fresh as any found in the Willamette Valley during peak farmers' market months. I am not a huge chocolate milk/hot cocoa fan, but the chocolate beverage they served with dinner was just sweet enough and at the right temperature to set off the rest of the meal perfectly!
I know we were all hungry, but I also know there were very few leftovers that night. My Spanish is definitely lacking, but I did learn to tell our kitchen crew, "Comida es muy bien". It was one of many new food/cooking phrases I would get the opportunity to practice while on our trip. We went back to the hotel after spending a few hours getting ready for to start "Son Rock Kids Camp" the next day, excited and exhausted with both our appetites and our hearts growing and ready to take on more!!