Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First night in Las Tolas

Today I got the village. It didn't really strike me how crazy what I am doing was until I got on the bus, alone. The bus ride took 3 hours, but it was insanely beautiful. A much nicer bus then I expected, no animals as passengers either. I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen through a gap in the mountains on the drive. The winding road along the mountain side was incredible, hues of pink and orange and purple lining the clouds as they appeared through gaps in forest shrouded peaks. Truly incredible.
I wasn't sure what bus stop to get off at, so I just waited till the last stop, and that turned out to be right. I was afraid my family wouldn't be there, but Elvirea was waiting around the corner and came over as soon as I got off. No one here speaks any English. None. Zero. Their house is 3 rooms, the ceiling is corrugated metal, and the walls are stucco. Their son Brian is a champ. He speaks the most English (which is none, except he knew how to say his age in English), he's eleven and seems like a cool kid. We went for a walk and looked around.
I have never seen stars like I saw today. Not in the colored canyon in Egypt, or in the wilderness of Minesota, nothing can compare to the stars I saw tonight. The milky way looked like a cloud of dust strewn across the sky. Every constellation was perfect. I could see for billions of lightyears. The forest looked beautiful but it was too late to really see it. I will look tomorrow.
We passed a volleyball court which seems like the villages main attaction. These kids were playing serious volleyball. They would have kicked the asses of the marines I played with in Rwanda. There are bugs around all the lights but it seems like only moths and some beatles. The moths range from a quarter inch in size to a three incher I saw on the outside of the window pane.
These people are really poor, and it blows my mind how well they have treated me. Of the three rooms there is a kitchen/common area and two bedrooms, and a bathroom. I have on of the bedrooms, and the nicest bed (which isn't nice). The mother, father, and son I think are sharing the second room. The two daughters are elsewhere, I am not sure specifically, but it was discussed and I just had no idea what was being said. Despite that, I managed to carry on a half-decent conversation. I expect my spanish to progress rapidly here. My room has a wooden shef, a window, and a small bedside table, with a gaudy plastic pink lamp which must have one day belonged to a daughter. There is a lightbult, but its hanging from a cord and is uncovered. The family decided I needed a chair, so they brought one of the several logs which are sitting outside for that purpose. Elvirea, the mother, put a little woven napkin on it to make it a seat. I was touched.
I gave everyone (except the daughters who are elsewhere) their gifts. They seemed very appreciative. I had to help Brian set his watch, and it took me a while to explain that it had a stopwatch and a alarm, and that I hadn't set the time to 00:00:00. He seems thrilled however.
As soon as I arrived we had dinner. It was simple beef soup, two chunks of tough beef, little noodles and potatoes, and some piece of egg I think. Similar to the common breakfast soup in Colombia. (Btw I take back the thing about the moth. There is a solid 7 incher smashing into the outside of my window. Black, loud, and slightly intimidating. I had to turn off the ceiling light to stop the bugs from smashing the outside of my window). The drink was a tea made from some kind of grass which they explained they picked from outside. As far as I can tell they only drink tea for safely, but there is a pot of water which is filtered to use for tooth brushing and etc.
I don't know if my internet stick will work out here, but as I have cell phone signal in some places it should. Photos will have to wait until I get back to Quito, but I will hopefully be able to post this. Those people who I should be emailing please take blog updates instead, as even being able to access my blog is iffy. Mom, if your reading this, youll be happy to know the village has no cars, only motorcycles, which i plan on learning to ride very soon.
I don't know how to explain how I feel right now. I am completely lost and alone in a world I don't understand, but at the same time I have a new family that has given me everything they have in order to make me feel welcome, and I don't even have enough language to properly thank them. I don't know what I am going to be doing, but I imagine I will start to find out tomorrow. These are the simplest surroundings I have ever been in, and I will be in them for months, and yet I am super excited. I have already seen a world I couldn't possibly have imagined, and I haven't even been here for half of a day. I'm gonna go to sleep, as I imagine I have a big day tomorrow (though in truth I have no idea). I'll keep you all posted as best I can.

1 comment:

  1. Great message, Ivan!! Your descriptions are wonderful. You didn't mention the make and model of the helmet you will be wearing?? Love, Mom