Days 3-6: City Boy Discovers Mud and the Great Outdoors

The first few days of this trip, back in Quito, a lot of us here had laughed and joked about how it felt like we’d already lived lifetimes in Ecuador with how many academic and cultural experiences we’ve had jam-packed into a single day. Yet, we had no idea the millions of lifetimes we would…

Monkeying Around in the Mud

On Thursday May 12, we had the opportunity to venture far deeper into the Amazon than many people ever have. We rode in canoes to the Waorani community, an indigenous group situated fairly deep in the Amazon on the banks of the Nushino River. We had the opportunity to live with this group, eat with…

My Ecuadorian Sister, Janita – More Family in South America

I can say without a doubt that this is the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. We took a boat down the Nushino River midday to stay with the Waorani tribe in Gomaton. We arrived via bus and slid down a mud slope to get to the three metal canoes we loaded…

The Journey to Marriage – from a married woman

On Thursday, we began a 5 hour journey to get from the Iyarani Lodge outside of Tena, to the Waorani group in the Amazon. We started with a two hour bus ride heading further and further away from large community groups. The further we got, the steeper the hills were and the harder it was…

My Fear of Quicksand is No Longer Irrational (in the best way)

For some reason, I really thought quicksand was going to be a huge issue in my life as a kid. After almost 19 years, I finally fell into quicksand. It wasn’t exactly how I imagined- I was laughing hysterically with some of my closest friends while two members of the Waorani community dug my feet…

Combining Communities!

Introducing Wayka! The last few days have been the best among the trip. It started off kind of rocky, quite literally, as we travelled down river for a few hours in canoes until finally reaching the home of the Woarani Community. Upon arriving, we were blessed with fruit smeared on our faces. We also met…

The life of pure happiness and simplicity

A 2 hour bus ride and 3 hour canoe ride later, we arrived at the Waorani’s tribe remote village in Gomaton, an area in the middle of the Amazon rain forest. When I say remote, I mean completely isolated. There was no service, electricity, and barely any running water. We were greeted by 10 kids,…

“Wow”rani Amazonian Tribe

I never conceptualized what the human body was able to do until visiting the indigenous Waorani tribe of the Ecuadorian Amazon. My day began by feeling sick to my stomach. I was nervous, yet excited about what was to come as I’d be spending two nights in an Amazonian remote village with no electricity. As…

Untouched by Civilization, Touched by Kindness – Blog 4

The past two days were amazing, and I do not think that this experience can be replicated. On Thursday, Tod told us about the history of our next location. We were going to visit the Waorani Nation, the most recently contacted indigenous group. They were contacted by missionaries in the 1950s, and we met two…

Indigenous Birthday Bash

Over the past few days, we got a chance to get to know indigenous people from the Waorani Tribe. We arrived on Thursday by canoe on the Mushuni River, which took 3 hours! It wasn’t the most comfortable sitting in a rocking canoe, getting poured on by rain, or hitting every stick in the water,…

They Are True People

When was the last time you didn’t use your phone for 24 hours? What about two days? Before May 12th, my answer to that was never. On our fifth day in Ecuador, we loaded into canoes to trek into the Amazon to visit the Waorani tribe. This name translates to “They are true people”. And…

Untouched by the Modern World

These past two days in Ecuador have been the most unique of my life. We traveled by bus and canoe to the Waorani Nation. The Waorani are a civilization that lives on the Nushino river in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest. This community was the last community in Ecuador to be contacted by the…

Walking On a Dream

The third day in Ecuador brought us to the first of three landscapes within the country. On the west is beautiful beaches, central Ecuador is steep volcanos of the Andes, and the east is the lush Amazon Rainforest. On day two, we had the opportunity to drive through the mountains and see some incredible vistas….

Hardcore Hiking

Imagine walking through the Amazon Forest and being told you have to trudge through a raging river. Yes, that happened today. We started our journey on a small path in the forest where we saw a cacao plant with the pods being eaten by a black disease. Nevertheless, it was so cool to see a…

Escalating Experiential Learning

Each day in Ecuador is crazier than the last. May 10th, Tuesday, was a travel day from Quito to the Iyarina lodge. To most, a travel day sounds long, boring, exhausting. I can confirm, this travel day was definitely exhausting, but in the best way possible. When we were in Pittsburgh, being travelers instead of…

Stick-shift Buses and Epiphytes

MAY 12TH: Beep beep! We’re in the tiny bus again! We started out today by driving out of Quito to our next location/hotel for the trip which is the Iyarina Lodge. We started our morning by exploring a neighborhood a few blocks away with amazing black coffee and pastries. We ran back to grab our…

Experiential Learning at its Finest

Live and learn. Learn and live. While we have only been in Ecuador for 4 full days, I feel like I have made enough memories for a lifetime. Today (May 11), we hiked in the Amazon. This hike, however, was not your typical hike in the woods. It was a 6.48 mile hike through thick…

Day 3/4: Coffee, Empanadas, and more Coffee.

The past two days have felt like a lifetime. Never ever before, have I ever, have had such a jam-packed 48 hours.  Day 3 of Quito started with a beautiful awakening. Despite the early mornings and long days, some of the other fellow Plus3 travelers and myself decided to wake up extra early to catch…

Head in the Clouds – Blog 3

This post will be for days 3 and 4. Day 3 was a travel day, but was still filled with activities. After an 8:30 departure from Quito headed to Iyarina Lodge in the jungle. After the city, we headed 13,000 feet up in the Andes. The driver pulled off the road onto an access road…

Alina the Explorer

The past two days have been probably the two best days of my entire life. Yesterday, we left Quito and came to the Iyarina Lodge in the Amazon Rainforest. On the drive from Quito to the lodge, we stopped in a cloud forest; a part of the rainforest that’s at such a high altitude that…