Throughout our time in Ecuador, I have been struck by the many differences between Ecuador and the United States. Everything from Ecuadorian ecosystems to the nation’s sewage system differs drastically from that of the United States. In the midst of the differences, there do seem to be a number of commonalities between the two countries, one of them apparently being a general interest in exercise in the form of organized dance.
After we finished our tours on Wednesday, a number of our group members ventured into a large, well-lit park in the middle of Tena. Although none among us had ever participated before, we decided to take part in the park’s daily Zumba class. Soon after we arrived in the covered basketball court in the middle of the park, approximately 40 local participants and two Ecuadorian instructors joined us in the space.
We spent the next hour drenched in sweat, stumbling through steps. If was marvelous, and remarkably similar to the Zumba classes I have attended in the States. Although we danced alongside Ecuadorians to Spanish music with cloud-covered mountain’s decorating the horizon, the class was comprised of primarily middle- to old-aged women (who succeeded in out-dancing all of us), just as Zumba classes are in the United States. On a trip where differences are ubiquitous, similarities are all the more memorable. Zumba in Tena will soon be forgotten.
By Sophia Martin