Little did we know, there were protest starting to break out all over Ecuador!
We got on a bus Friday afternoon to head to Canar as planned. Arrived as planned, and then, the rest of the weekend was a constant surprise!
After arriving in Canar, we found out that we were learning a dance and performing it the next day, we also would be making some prizes for the children…we learned the dance, and oh…that is so not my gifting! But it got my heart rate up (yay for exercise)J . We then went on to learn how to make a clown holding a picture frame out of foam paper. Each little prize had about 15 different pieces to make it complete. We did that for a while with a cute, little lady from the church. Then to the dinner table with Pastor Lucy and her family. I have to say, I don’t know if I will ever get used to seeing a chicken neck or ankle in my soup! However, the soup itself tasting very good! Then off to bed. Lukus and I had a two person bed for the wk.end…it was a real treat! In Cuenca, we are sharing a twin size bed…nothin’ like being closeJ . In the middle of the night, lukus and I woke up to the sound of people yelling in the streets, glass breaking, and sirens.
Saturday morning over the breakfast table, our host, Pastor Lucy, went on to tell us of what we heard the night before. It was the indigenous people, or mountain people as they call them, protesting the fact that they have unclean water and the new president is doing nothing about it! Very sad news, but we had no time to ponder on it, we needed to start for the hour and a half walk to the park. While walking we came onto a pepsi truck and its’ driver….who we later found out was a guy from the church, but at the time, all we knew was that this guy was going to give us a ride up the mountain in the back of his pepsi truckJ . It was so much fun, and so random! Bumping around on the soda bottles, and then a quick stop…we were motioned to get out and look around. We were looking at the Incapirca…inca ruins. It was incredible! Then back on top of the soda bottles, they then kept one of the back doors open so we could see the viewJ . Once again, bumping around on top of the soda bottles, we came to another quick stop, and motioned to get out. Wow! What a view! A pond and then mountains, and more mountains. God is such an incredible artist! Back on the soda bottles…driving, bumping around, driving, and another quick stop. I was expecting another amazing view, but when rounding the front of the truck, I saw a 3 - 4 feet deep and 3-4 feet wide ditch dug out of the road, and on the other side, about 15 indigenous people sitting and watching our plans change. The driver of the pepsi truck could not complete his daily run, therefore, his livelihood is being affected, and we now needed to continue on foot. We said our good byes to our new friend, walked passed all the mountain people, who said good morning, and went on up the mountain road. While making our way up, we came on to many road baracades…some made of huge rocks, some of tree trunks. We saw many cars trying to get to their destination, but ended up, just turning around…the baracades won. Up ahead, we saw a truck backing up and then a smiley man motioning for us to hop in…another man from the church. We ended up going to his house for lunch. No one was at the park b/c of all the baracades. His wife made us a delicious 3 course meal, and then he took us in his truck a different way down the mountain. While going down, we came in contact with many more road blocks, but we were able to get by, but then we came to a bridge that had become unable to pass over, due to the protest. We continued on foot, were picked up by another truck, and then taken back to the church right in time to do the 3 o’ clock children’s service. I stayed down at the house, b/c my lunch had gotten a little to thrown around in my belly…my stomach has been quite moody lately! While the others did the service, I stayed curled up until the adult service at 7. We performed the dance we had learned, and then Estrellita delivered a wonderful sermon about the power of the tongue and how it is one way the fruits of the spirit can be exhibited. Pastor Lucy then expounded on the sermon and we all took communion together.
We had a good dinner at Pastor Lucy’s house and went to bed….we were all pretty exhausted. The next morning, we found out that there was no service, we were going to go preach in the market! We walked to a nearby market, and set up camp. Pastor Lucy led the lesson, and later gave us tracks to hand out in the market. To be honest, I do not really like doing this kind of thing…it feels so impersonal, and so I don’t know, I just think Jesus might do it different…but that is what we were told to do, so I had to do it….I am only telling you all this, b/c this was my mental processing. I don’t know if I am right for feeling this way! After the market, we were shown a Cuenca museum were a satanic festival takes place every year. That was a different experience.
Then another lunch at Pastor Lucy’s house. Over lunch there was a lot of talk about how we would get back to Cuenca because of all the protest. The road from Canar to Cuenca was completely blocked! How were we going to get back??? It seemed like a different plan was presented every 5 minutes…so we were all pretty confused as to what was happening. Around 2 in the afternoon, we got news that we needed to pack our things, we were going to take a bus back to Cuenca! We quickly packed up, still not knowing how we were taking a bus when the protests are still going on and therefore, the road was still blocked. But, we packed and boarded the bus just in time to get a seat instead of a space to stand in the isle! The bus ride was double the price and double the time of travel…they were taking a different route. We were there experiencing yet another adventure! The road was the width of the bus for at least half of the trip, and it was usually lining a cliff! I happened to have the window seat…looking out, not able to see the road b/c we were on the edge, looking down and seeing the side of the mountain, I thought I was going to pass out! I’m super scared of heights! Anyways, I did not pass out, but we went over a big rock and it messed up one of the front tires. So we stopped for a half hour while the bus driver fixed the tire. We got back on the road, and faced quite a few more attempted baracades, and stopped a few times to let other cars pass b/c remember, we were on a one lane, dirt road up in the mountainsJ .
We arrived safely in Cuenca and were picked up by the missionary family we recently met. To our delight, they had prepared chicken and dumplings for our team and their son (who served as our translator in Canar). It was a wonderful ending to an adventurous, stretching weekend!
Thank God/Dios, for hospitable people, coco crackers, water, patient people and working legs!