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Day 2: Coca Tea and Cotopaxi

June 19, 2014

By Tarina, Cindy, and Emily (Los Cocodrilos)

We started the day with a great breakfast at the Hotel Sebastian in Quito at an altitude of approximately 2,850 meters. Que delicioso!

We got our shopping fix at the local Arte Folklore Olga Fish then took a short walk through the city to Heifer Ecuador Headquarters. After a warm welcome from the Heifer Ecuador team, we were engaged by a presentation by Rosa Rodriguez. She informed us about Heifer’s mission to promote sustainability through environment and development in five programs: Mangroves, Dry forests, Highlands, Páramo, and the Amazon forest.

More than 13,000 families in need have benefited in 7 short years and will continue to do so through the value chain model. Within this model, Heifer assists the family, who then shares with the community, which develops the region to produce better conditions for everyone involved. Check out for more information about Heifer’s work.

We then began traveling through the cities, valleys, and rural areas on our ascent to Cotopaxi National Park. The ride was beautiful and dizzying with the increased altitude but thankfully we had consumed Coca Tea to help us acclimate to the steep paths. At more than 12,000 feet some of the group were feeling the effects of high altitude.

City Street with school children walking home from school.

Ecuadorian children walking home from school.

We rounded a corner and saw that the clouds had parted for us to see the magnificence of the summit of Cotopaxi. One of our leaders, Patricio, told us of a legend that says when the clouds part, the mountain is welcoming you, and it only happens to good people.

Cotopaxi Volcano

The clouds part as Cotopaxi welcomes our group with a magnificent view.

We continued up the mountainous road and witnessed the wild horses and grazing cattle just before we arrived at our lunch spot. We sat together in front of a looming volcano and a lake — how magnificent! Some of our group members presented topics about the Andean condor, calderas, and the Páramo. After our delicious lunch of guacamole sandwiches, mayonnaise potato chips, apples, chocolate muffins, and Oreos, we started our descent back down the mountain to the Hotel Villa de Tacunga in Latacunga.

Lunch on the Paramo

Delicious lunch prepared for us by Hacienda El Porvenir.

Lunch on the Paramo

Our group enjoyed a picnic lunch on a wildlife viewing platform.

Hotel Villa de Tacunga

Our beautiful hotel in Latacunga, Ecuador.

We are about to begin putting our teaching boxes together and enjoy the city! Hasta pronto!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda Schafer permalink
    June 19, 2014 7:49 pm

    What will be in the “teaching boxes”? Will you be working with all grade levels?

    • christyflint2013 permalink*
      June 19, 2014 9:06 pm

      The school we will visit tomorrow is K-8 with 133 students total. There are four teaching boxes with the following themes: Human Body, Outdoor Investigations, Wildlife of Ecuador and General Supplies. We are all looking forward to being with the children and working with their teachers.

  2. Elaine martell permalink
    June 19, 2014 8:02 pm

    Wonderful description of the day. loved it and keep them coming. You painted a beautiful picture.

  3. Harshini Velmani permalink
    June 19, 2014 9:00 pm

    This blog is amazing! I love reading about the groups experiences. Sounds like the trip started wonderfully.

  4. Bonnie Confer permalink
    June 20, 2014 6:03 am

    Gorgeous scenery! So excited for you all!

  5. Joe permalink
    June 20, 2014 10:56 am

    The pictures and descriptions are great! Good luck teaching today!

  6. Alexis Fintchre permalink
    June 20, 2014 7:36 pm

    Mrs. Wernersbach,
    Ecuador just won its match in the World cup against Honduras!!! Were you able to witness any crazy fans in the streets?
    Also I totally forgot that Ecuador is Spanish for equator… duh! What is the weather like down there? Have there been any rumbling from the volcanos yet?!

    • christyflint2013 permalink*
      June 20, 2014 9:49 pm

      Hi, Alexis! Yes, we caught the action of the Ecuador vs. Honduras game at a local restaurant and had fun cheering with the Ecuadorians. As for the weather, we are in the mountains right now, and even though we are very close to the Equator, it’s a little chilly. At 9,000-13,000 ft elevation, we have the fleece jackets and hats on! In a few days, we will be at a lower altitude and closer to the coast, and there, it will be very hot! On our first day here, we visited Cotopaxi National Park. Cotopaxi’s last major eruption was in 1904. A volcano named Tungurahua near Quito where we flew in, has been erupting as recently as April.

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