This past weekend, Ecuador PDs and
country director Darcy went on an overnight retreat to Cotopaxi National Park,
high in the central Andes. It was
the third and final retreat that the team will take together, and it resulted
in a productive discussion of Manna Ecuador’s programs, as well as a chance for
PDs to relax in a hot tub and enjoy the views.
We were fortunate to find an
incredible and affordable hostel with great views of the mountains Cotopaxi,
Sincholagua, and the Ilinizas.
Cotopaxi National Park, along with the Galapagos Islands, is one of
Ecuador’s most celebrated parks, and draws visitors from all over the world to
see the high páramos (mountain plains
with distinctive vegetation), nevados (snow-covered mountains), and of course Cotopaxi, one of the world’s
highest active volcanoes. This
area is also known for its cold and often-rainy weather, and our first day did
not disappoint in this respect.
However, we awoke the next morning to rare blue skies, and were treated
to fantastic views of the mountains.
As well as traveling, relaxing,
and getting to know Ecuador as a country, our retreats also serve as an
opportunity for us to evaluate our programs and discuss issues related to our
community development work in the Chillos Valley. Among the issues we discussed were how to be both
disciplined and firm but also understanding with teens in our teen center, a
recap on some of our newer programs, and amusing stories from this
year. We returned from the retreat
relaxed, focused, and ready to make the most of our remaining three
What is it about hot tubs that get
the discussion juices flowing?!
The spectacular Cotopaxi, sitting high above the páramo at 19,340 ft. "Cotopaxi" is Quichua for "Neck of the Moon."
From left to right, Rachel, Darcy, Taylor, Charlie, and Watkins, relaxing at the end of the day in the mountain hostel.
Our lovely lodging, with the Ilinizas peaks in the background.
Charlie, Emily, Nicole, Heather, and our fearless guides, out for a hike.