Day 2: Coca Tea and Cotopaxi
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 www.heifer-ecuador.org 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.
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.
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.
We are about to begin putting our teaching boxes together and enjoy the city! Hasta pronto!