Week 2: Part 1 - Exploring Mindo!

July 16, 2018
Time definitely flies when you’re having fun. I can’t believe it is already the start of my second week in Ecuador! I know that I have not been here that long, but I am already super sad thinking about leaving. I am definitely looking at Ecuador through rose colored glasses.
On Saturday I woke up bright and early to make my way to Mindo, Ecuador. Mindo is a cute little town surrounded by a mountainous “cloud forest.” Standing on the roof of our hostel, we were practically in the clouds ourselves!
When we arrived on Saturday, the first thing we chose to do was zip-line! For $17 each, we got a round trip “taxi” ride to a course with 10 lines! In addition, we were accompanied by two guides who were super funny! We were able to ride different styles (upside down, “superman”, “mariposa” [butterfly], and regular sitting position). The guides didn’t rush us at all and also told us about themselves and the family zip-line business! Also, the reason I put “taxi” in quotations is because all of the taxis we took in Mindo were actually pick-up trucks that allowed passengers to ride in the bed of the truck! To be honest, it was one of my favorite parts of the trip- the wind blowing through my hair, surrounded by the beautiful cloud forest scenery. It was definitely a breath of fresh air compared to the big cities that I am used to! After that, we went on a chocolate tour where we learned about the history of chocolate, how chocolate is made, and tried a bunch of chocolate samples. For dinner, we went to a restaurant with live music, and then took a walk to the park, where we listened to more live music! It was a great way to end the night.
Cable Car Across the MountainsThe next morning, Sunday, we woke up bright and early to eat breakfast at a restaurant where we were surrounded by hummingbirds! Then, we took a cable car across the mountains to the area we wanted to hike. We took a trail that brought us to a series of five waterfalls. Then, we took another trail that brought us to one of the bigger waterfalls, Cascada Nambillo, where we swam around for a bit and talked to some of the other hikers. After that, we made our way back to the town to eat lunch and catch our bus home.
Now it is Monday night and I am reflecting on my day. Today in the hospital, there were a lot of people with facial injuries. One woman was hit in the face with a rock, so we brought her to an eye doctor to assess the damage to her eyesight. Let’s just say, it was not pretty. When we finally got her eye open, the doctor immediately knew the diagnosis. Part of her eye had actually exploded from the impact of the rock. The doctor told the patient that she had lost her eye, and the patient began to cry tears -of blood. It was a terribly sad and difficult thing to see, but knowing we were helping her is what makes it bearable. Also, because she still could see out of her other eye, it is likely that her life will continue fairly normally. They then scheduled her surgery to get the remainder of that eye tissue taken out to prevent further complications. Overall, it was a great learning experience- but I’m not sure being an eye doctor is something I can stomach! 
I just got home from getting ice cream & cheese with some of the other volunteers, and I am stuffed! I definitely recommend it; cheese goes great on anything! Check back in soon for another post!
With love from Ecuador,

Check out more from Monika by clicking any of her recent Ecuador blog posts below:

Week 1: Part 1 - Hola Everyone!

Week 1: Part 2 - Getting Oriented!

Week 1: Part 3 - Spanish, Salsa, and Soccer!