Today was spent completely on travel. We all arrived at church at 2:30am, headed to the airport at 3am and caught our flight to Houston by 5:30. Once in Houston, we had an 8 hour layover. We spend a lot of time exploring the airport, napping, playing games, stretching our legs, and even completing a photo scavenger hunt that Neil put together for us. Our 5 hour flight to Ecuador left Houston at about 4:30 and we arrived in Ecuador at 11pm. After collecting all of our check under luggage we headed to the hostel where we spend a few hours sleeping. It was an incredibly exhausting day of not doing much at all!
This morning we woke to birds singing and flowers blooming outside of our hostel windows. After getting ready we headed to Joel and Kim Delp’s home in Quito for breakfast. Joel and Kim are Covenant missionaries who work here in Ecuador with projects like the children’s home, a clinic, medical caravans to the indigenous people and more. After breakfast – which some ate on their roof top patio, we headed into Quito to do some touring. We started at the basilica which we learned is where all of the presidents of Ecuador have their swearing in services, and where they are also buried in the catacombs below. Here we climbed what felt like a million steps to visit the tops of the towers and get an incredible view of Ecuador.
We then walked down through “Old Town Quito” and past what has historically been called “The Seven Churches”. These churches are hundreds of years old and are significant to the people of Ecuador. One of the churches (which we were able to tour) is completely covered in gold on the inside! This church took so many years to build, carve and guild that up to 3 different generations of Ecuadorian indigenous people worked on creating it. After the church tour we ate lunch at a restaurant near the town square where we saw protesters, street venders, street performers and more!
We loaded up on the bus and then headed to the Equator. We had a wonderful guided tour of this museum that explained a lot about the tribes and peoples of Ecuador. We saw a stuffed anaconda as well as a real shrunken head! We also did some fun equator experiments like balancing an egg on the head of a nail, testing how our strength is affected when directly on the equator, and even how water goes down the drain (hint… it goes down differently North of the Equator than it does South of the Equator… and really differently when directly on the equator).
The team loaded the bus for a quick ride to a wonderful ice cream shop where we enjoyed some sorbet made from different tropical fruits. Then we loaded back up for our drive to Cayambe. We arrived a bit later than expected, so we ate dinner right away. After dinner we unpacked and practiced our songs for tomorrow’s church service in Lote Tres. Everyone is very tired from lack of sleep and all of the walking today so most headed to bed by 9:30.