Sunday, January 24, 2010

Busy week

Today is my first real day at home since last thursday! I've been able to steal some pictures from other people so I'm putting a few up here.
This is most of the BaƱos crew...
And here are some from Canyoning...

Quick update on our recent trips:
Monday and tuesday we were in Otavalo, a city about 2 hours north of Quito. Its beautiful, and home to the biggest market in South America, but we were there for a slightly more academic reason :) We visited an incredible Jambi Huasi (the Kychwa word for House of Health) that combined western and indigenous medecine, such that the patients who visited the clinic had the option to choose whichever method they preferred.

We had the opportunity to watch a traditional indigenous diagnostic method: limpia del Cuy. Now Cuy is Guinea Pig, an animal that is native to the area and heavily tied to many indigenous customs here. This particular diagnostic method involves the Yachac (aka Shaman) more or less smacking the guinea pig all over the torso of the patient (in this case Sam who bravely volunteered). The Yachac then cuts it open to diagnose the patient based on the state of the internal organs of the Cuy. Very interesting but a little gross at the same time.
We also had the opporunity to hear about indigenous spirituality from another local Yachac - it was fascinating, and afterwards he took us all out into the forest and did a wecoming ritual with us wich was amazing.
We were also staying in the most beautiful hotel, and these were our two new friends that were waiting for us outside our door the next morning...

We spent thursday and friday in Riobamba, which is a few hours south of Quito, where we toured another clinic and hospital, both of which also attempted to combine indigenous and western medicine. We also split up into groups and spent some time in clinics in a few really rural communities, which was really cool. Everyone here is so welcoming it is really incredible.
We also had the opportunity to visit a Yachac's house, way out in the middle of nowhere, and she took us around her garden. It was amazing, full of hundreds of different kinds of plants all with a different purpose. There was also a lot of fruit that she let us try :)
Friday we visited a local Quito hospital and learned a little more about the public health system here; starting in the beginning of January the government in Ecuador has made a goal to pay for all health care costs of its citizens. We all had a lot of questions about how that has been working so far, especially considering the recent push for healthcare changes in this direction in the US.
Then yesterday (saturday) we got up early and took the bus back to Otavalo to spend the day in the market. It was really hot and sunny and I think we all spent more money that we expected to but it was definitely worth it.
Backtracking a little, Friday night we went out in the historical district in an area called La Ronda, which is these two incredible streets FULL of people and lined with tiny little bars and restaurants all with different atmospheres and playing different local music. We wondered around for a while and finally settled on one called El Coyote, and ordered wine and appetizers and ate and talking looking out over this beautiful colonial courtyard with a distant view of the surrounding hills all lit up from the lights of houses.
Then last night, my neighbor Andrea who is Ecuatoriana but is going to college in New York, had her going away dinner before heading back to school for her spring semester, and we went back to a restaurant in La Ronda called La Vista Hermosa, which was this incredible open air restaurant on the roof of a hotel, from which we could see what felt like all of Quito. It was by far the swankiest place I've been so far here, and the food was amazing, but the filet mignon still only cost $10.50! I'm getting so spoiled by prices here.
Have to go and work on an essay (little reminder that all of this actually counts as school) and then this afternoon a few of us are going to go and climb the basilica downtown!

1 comment:

  1. Yay this is all so wonderful! You must be speaking lots of Spanish, your English spelling is getting to be.. Mmmm. Bad. I miss you! I will leave you a FB vid in the next couple of days to update you on my first week back. Looooooove you!

    (Oh, PS, I made a blog?! Hahah)