Ecuador Trip - June/July 2015

Click on one of the dates below to jump directly to that day's update:

Mandy's trip this summer will cover approximately 6961 miles.

She will travel from St. Louis to Houston and then on to Quito.
From Quito, her first journey will be to Tosagua. She'll return to Quito then travel to Loja. After Loja, she'll be headed back to Quito before going to Pastocalle. Her trip home will be via Quito and Houston before she's back to St. Louis.

Sat. July 11 and Sun. July 12, 2015:

This weekend we traveled south to Baños, which translates to bathtub.  There are mineral springs around the base of the Tungurahua volcano where people come to soak.  We stayed in a nice little hostel that had a nice view of a small waterfall.
We took a ride on an open air cable car across a river.  It was a bit scary, but fun!
We then hiked 35 minutes into the jungle (rain forest) to a huge waterfall.  Then we had to climb and crawl about 20 more minutes to get to the top.  It was AMAZING!

Mon., July 13, 2015:

We started working on the job site today by digging 12 holes.  It felt like business as usual.   After lunch we tied rebar columns and one meter squares for the foundation.  We are working with quite a few members of the family... the mother, older siblings and their wives.  These people work so so hard.  It is inspirational to see them work.  

We made our own karaoke night in the restaurant of the hotel.  We hooked a laptop up to the TV and sang from karaoke you tube videos.

Tue., July 14, 2015:

Today was the start of the concrete work.  Shoveled lots of sand and rock that then got dumped into the mixer.  It then was wheelbarrow-ed to the holes.  At  then end of the day we dug trenches that  will connect the rebar columns.  We are making progress on the house.  These bags are just for today which means there is A LOT more concrete mixing in my future. 

       This is the site at the end of Tuesday.--------->

Tonight we are going to play some games, but we all are very tired.  I don't think we will last long.

Wed. July 15, 2015:

Before we started working today, we visited the family's current home and saw mill.  This was the first time that I was able to visit a family that we built a home for at their home.  This is a panoramic picture of their property.   

Below is the family's saw mill in action and the homeowner, Mercedes, with two of her grandchildren standing in front of her and her husband's bedroom.

We hauled large rocks to the house today and then had to hand place each one so that is was level with the others.  This was a very lengthy process, but not too labor intensive. 
In each of the communities where the ISC builds homes with Habitat we have a relationship with a church, their pastor, and the c
ongregation.  Cotopaxi is a fairly new location and we are just starting to build a relationship with a church in Pastocalle.  Tonight we went to a church service where we sang praise songs and listened to a sermon.  We were then asked to share our call to do mission work.  We all spoke and I also shared one of my favorite bible versus... Romans 8:28 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."  It meant a lot to share our story with the congregation. 

Thu., July 16, 2015:

Today we are pouring the floor for the house. 
Step 1: Fill these containers with sand (6x) and rock (5x).

Step 2: Dump the buckets into the concrete mixer.         Step 3: Wheelbarrow the concrete into                                                                                                             the floor of the house.

And repeat...and repeat...and repeat...and repeat! 

We finished the floor before lunch (1:00), then we unloaded the blocks from a large truck and actually started putting up blocks.

Fri., July 17, 2015:

Today was blocks, blocks, and more blocks.  Because we got started yesterday we got further on this house than on any other that I have worked. 
This is Sandra and her 7 month old son Luis. She is the daughter-in-law of the homeowners.  She and her husband worked with us each day.  Sandra worked as hard if not harder than me and most of the time she has her baby on her back.

                                                       Cotopaxi selfie:)

Cotopaxi started venting throughout the day.  It was pretty cool to see!!  When we got back to the hotel we learned that they were slightly concerned for about an hour, but not any longer.  It was nice to know that they really do monitor it very closely.

I will update once more with a few photos of our last weekend in Ecuador.