The past couple days have been relatively chill, but maybe I define “chill” differently now. When we got back from the Gomaton tribe, we spent the next two days working on our final projects before heading to coast.
My group decided to take all of our new knowledge on the chocolate industry and create our own chocolate company. Starting from a pros and cons list for all of the companies we visited, we came up with a brand that focuses on putting our farmers and the environment first. The brand comes from 40% indigenous beans, inspiring the name “Waadequï”. In Wao, the word has no direct translation, but encompasses the idea of thanks and friendship. I had a great time working on this project, especially in a hammock in the Amazon rainforest.
Another little project we had was to make a commercial promoting Plus3 Ecuador. We had a watch party with the staff, then voted for our favorite. Me and my partner, Jordan, won! We were gifted two incredibly beautiful handmade ceramic bowls. Made by indigenous women, mine has a “lumu bangha” mormanioc leaf design made with a paintbrush made of the artist’s hair. The tradition is that women would make these bowls for a man they are interested in, and they would drink a fermented beverage from it. I’m really honored to have an authentic piece that represents such interesting history!
There’s no question that Ecuador has continued to bring surprises. Flexibility is our favorite word. On our travel day from the lodge, a landslide happened. A ton of mud, 4 feet deep in some spots, stretched over the entire road. We didn’t see it happen, but we were stuck in a huge line of cars who may have. Still deep in the rainforest, we had no alternate routes so we had to wait it out. Soon enough, heavy equipment arrived to clear off the road.
We ended up missing our flight, and driving through the night to our destination in the bus. Of course, nobody was jumping up and down with joy, but the drive wasn’t too bad. We’re now on the coast and I’m excited to explore this new side of Ecuador!
Current Location: Las Tunas, Ecuador