This week the Manna Ecua site is hosting 11 awesome volunteers from Vanderbilt University! They are here helping us prepare for the 5 year anniversary party of our community center and library. So far the week has been filled with Carnaval celebrations, revamping the library space with a new coat of paint and some new tables for the class rooms, and a day touring Quito.
Here is a short overview of the first day from site leader Hannah Berg:
Sunday was our first full day in Ecuador, and we jumped in head first by heading to a Carnival parade in Amaguana. Before leaving, we learned that Carnaval is a weeklong celebration leading up to the Tuesday before Lent, and that it involves pelting people with foam, powder and colored eggs. The program directors did a great job of explaining, but nothing could have prepared us for what was to come.
We rode to Amaguana in the back of a truck bed, which was bumpy but gave us an incredible view of the Ecuadorian countryside and mountains. As we approached the parade area we started to see more and more people carrying around espuma (foam) in spray cans. Almost the second we stepped off the truck I got sprayed full in the face with foam. Carnival had begun!
Within a few minutes we where all covered in a rainbow of colored powder and foam. Some of us (including me) got eggs in our hair. By the end of the day we were every color of the rainbow and had memories to last a lifetime.
More stories and experiences from the Vandy group will be posted soon!