Home away from home

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Ecuador’s land folds into itself like origami.
Covered in an overwhelming greenery tsunami,
the natural beauty swallows your heart entirely
as you search for the next wave to see
peering behind each fold and smooth crease.
It exhales with a cool eastern wind
that sounds like your life changing from within.
Noises of friendly warning honks as we wind around mountain sides;
Ecuadorian music bouncing us with the beats throughout the ride.

This experience is like simultaneously falling head first and jumping feet first.

I saw a tree straight out of The Lion King.
I hugged a little girl whose smile could sing.
I saw mountainside green houses that make your house look like a monopoly piece.
And houses without doors and with dirt floors crying out for relief.
I saw excitement as the children sprinted yelling “gringos and gringas”,
and an elderly woman balancing a barrel on her head as she says “buenos dias”.
I saw dirt roads zig zag up the mountains defying laws of gravity,
and crop fields, waterfalls, and hope that top our purple mountain majesty.

This experience is like simultaneously falling head first and jumping feet first.

Patches of emerald fields greener than the greed of the American dollar.
Sown together by the sturdy stitches of the indigenous culture.
Sky scraping tree tunnels direct you between villages and cities
tempting you to explore from Quito to Pusir Grande to Cotacachi.
The breath taking views of each steep cliff tells a narrative.
My eyes cannot consume enough for there is no comparative;
no setting satisfies the hunger of my ojos like Ecuador-
its vegetation begs to be Dora the explored.

This experience is like simultaneously falling head first and jumping feet first.

I served as a play mate, interviewer, hand holder, hugger, and jungle gym.
A 16 year-old said restoring his villages’ culture matters most to him.
An 11 year-old I met at 10 melted into innocence as I remembered her name.
A 17 year-old told me after this trip he would never be the same.
An 8 year-old mastered my childhood version of patty cake.
A 23 year-old faced the reality of the differences his company will make.
A 16 year-old explained her desire to become something like a nurse.
A 25 year-old realized that there truly is a place for all of us in the universe.

This experience is like simultaneously falling head first and jumping feet first.

So what are you waiting for?

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