I have landed in Miami and it has already been an interesting morning. I did not get the email about travel information from WorldTeach. Last night around 11 pm, after combing through my email, I decided to email the other volunteers in my area to see if they new about the pre-departure meeting. I was thought it would be at the gate. I am glad I emailed because one person thought the same as I did and another forwarded me a very important email with pertinent travel information.
I arrive at the airport early now armed with group travel information, which proved beneficial. I tell the baggage guy that I am going to Miami, but the taking a flight booked as a group to Quito. He tells I need to pick up my bag in Miami. I decide this doesn’t sound quite right and decide to ask the ticket agent at the gate. Good thing because it was wrong, very wrong. TJ, the ticket agent, tracked down my bag, got it re-tagged, printed my boarding pass Quito, refunded the baggage fee (there is not fee for international flights) and was generally awesome. This is of course assuming my bag arrives, but for right now I’m a big fan.
The pre-departure meeting is in an hour. Next stop Quito, Ecuador. I hope I have not missed any other important communications.
The volunteer handover letter stated that Cuellaje was one of the most remote placements. It also mentioned the limited travel too and from town. I didn’t realize just how far it was until I found this:
“From Otavalo by bus to the village of Cuellaje is a journey of about 4 hours along an unpaved road that winds its way through the mountains.”
Otavalo is 1.5 hours from Quito. I thought I lived in the middle of nowhere at home, but this gives new meaning to “nowhere.”
Yesterday evening I got my placement assignment in Ecuador. It is in the Cuellaje region of Intag, which is marked on the map to the left. According to the email it is “located in the mountains surrounding the cities of Otovalo and Cotocachi, Intag is known for its pristine beauty, nature, wildlife, and tranquility. Cuellaje is a small village, which is why it has remained a nature-lover’s paradise! As the main parroquia it also functions as a central hub for the Intag region. The word “parroquia” could probably best be translated, in this case as “neighborhood center,” as Cuellaje acts as the governing body for 7 surrounding communities.”
Based on the handover letter, it sounds like a nice area with great people. I keep waiting for the feeling of excitement to kick in, but so far I only have feelings I can’t quite identify. At least now, I can learn more about the area and I should probably stop procrastinating and start getting stuff together.
I applied to, was accepted and accepted the offer from World Teach to teach English in Ecuador for two months this summer. As the departure date rapidly approaches, I know I should be getting excited, but mostly feel apprehensive. You can survive anything for 59 days right?
I’ve been reading about Ecuador and trying to get everything I need together. I hope I don’t arrive too under prepared or scar the Ecuadorians. Although, being a picky eater, I think food tops my list of concerns.
Ecuador looks colorful, bright and interesting. I’ll be fine – right?