Tena, Baños & Salinas de Guaranda October 19, 2021 Tena. We invited our friend Eric Camacho who grew up in Dayuma a few hours northeast of Tena to join us for our 3 days here. This first afternoon he shared about what it was like growing up in the amazon basin, his life, education and path to being a wilderness guide and current work with local indigenous communities here. His town of Dayuma was established by the oil industry in the 90s and he shared about the complexity and controversy of the oil industry involvement in the this extremely ecologically diverse region. The view from our hostal in Tena Eric Camacho Eric sharing with students about flora and fauna on our rainforest hike. Yadira and Ebtihal Dinner time! Eric led us through the process of roasting, shelling, grinding, heating we ate delicious amazonian chocolate! This time it was our own hard work! Roasting Shelling Cocoa Beans Grinding the beans Yum!!! Maito, a traditional dish of the amazon basin. Eric pointing out birds on our boat ride up the Napo river. We visited an indigenous (first peoples) community outside of the town Misahuallí. It was another great visit that opened us up more to the many similarities and differences between the vast number of indigenous groups that create the country of Ecuador. Solomon working to strip this very strong plant down to treads used for sewing. A traditional face painting done with the fruit Achiote. Lily adding stiches with the plant-fiber thread Solomon and Daniel helped create. Trying the traditional fermented drink Chicha while Ben and Eric look on. Lunch by the Napo River In the afternoon we stopped for a quick dip in the Napo River. Unfortunately we were delayed several hours on our way from Tena to Baños as crews cleared debris from a recent landslide. Fortunately everyone had a great attitude about the situation playing word games. Klever joined in the fun! Discussing expectations for upcoming volunteer service internship placements. Baños Check out that view! Lily Amanda Lily, Yadira, Solomon, Amanda, Daniel, Ebtihal After Baños we headed further into the Andes to the town of Salinas de Guaranda. Salinas is a very cool small mountain town that has become well known around the country for its community cooperatives and has become a model for community development initiatives. Chimborazo! Vicuñas Nina describing the process, local farmers bring alpaca, llama and sheep wool to the factory to be cleaned, colored and turned into thread. This raw material then gets sold to artisans in Otavalo to create their beautiful textiles. It was neat to come to the beginning of the process, things came full circle for us on the sweaters we bought in Otavalo. The first cooperative in Salinas that we visited was the factory of wool raw materials. Thread as the final product The second cooperative we visited and which makes Salinas famous is the Cheese making facility. Salinerito cheese can be found at nearly any supermarket in the country. Here are the bins where farmers bring their milk in the morning. With the week over we stayed Friday night in the Fundación in northern Quito. Saturday morning students began to disperse ,heading to their service locations with new host families. Beyond regular ongoing check-ins, Nina and I will plan to visit each student in their locations at about the halfway through these next six weeks.