Week 4 arrived much quicker than I anticipated. But it came nonetheless, and I had a great week at work. I have the routine down pat now and was given more responsibility with the children, including leading creative paint time with the 8-12 year old boys which is more of a struggle to keep a paint war from breaking out. It was amazing to set the colors down in front of them and give them free reign. They kept waiting for me to tell them what to paint and it finally sank in that they could draw whatever they wanted. At first they would start copying what their friends were painting but eventually they all morphed into their own original work. All painted beautiful works and mixed colors like pro’s though at times they got a little carried away and a whole bottle of green would be mixed with blue. I wish this was an activity they got to do more often because they got to express themselves and all were so proud of their works.
My last day was a tough one because we were at my favorite market setting and it was hard to accept I wouldn’t be returning next week to see all the fun those kids would have. From playing a tag game to playing house with the little ones, the day went by all to fast. I did have a good little challenge before I left however when I noticed in the morning that there was a girl standing off to the side by herself. She wasn’t interacting with anyone and showed no interested when the professors tried to engage her. I went over and started out slow with the usual, “Hola amiga, como estas” and was met with a very mute response. After a few minutes I had her talking however in a very shy reserved voice. Turns out she was having a bad day, she came with her two sisters but she didn’t like the girls they were playing with and therefore refused to join. I told her that was fine but there were still so many other things for her to do and got her playing in a different game. She came back in the afternoon and was still a little standoffish with everyone else but would listen to me. I got a few smiles out of her and she lit up when it came to craft time. There is something about crafts that really speaks to children because I feel it gives them the power to control and create as usually most things are dictated to children such as when and what they eat, when they play, when they sleep, etc. She ran up to me at the end of the day to show me her work of art with a little shy smile on her face, one that I was luckily able to capture.
The weekend brought a 5:30 am wake up call as my roommate and I headed up to Cotapaxi, a large active volcano that has done massive damage in the past. It was only an hour south or so and it magically appeared when the clouds suddenly parted. The volcano loomed large and almost cartoonish in front of us. From there we drove a ways more then started our ascent on foot up to glacier which was about 1/4th of the way to the top. It took about two hours and was very windy but luckily I had purchased some alpaca gloves for $3 right before so I stayed nice and warm. We hiked back down to the van and from there rode bikes 10 kilometers down the gravel road that was washed out in several places leaving huge ruts. This made for pretty tricky conditions riding down and it was less than 1 minute before a tourist from Iceland ate it… hard. After that I elected to stay in the back and distance myself from the main group a little. It was such a peaceful scene and I really just wanted some quiet to enjoy the view and go at my own pace. On the way down I sat on some large rocks, met some wild horse and witnessed some interesting flowers. Great choice to take my time. Upon returning home it was a night of UNO with the family and then I said my goodbyes the next afternoon. I also remembered I really dislike repacking and had a challenge fitting the same amount of clothes into my two small bags. I will miss this family a lot as we had a lot of laughs but I also will be here for two more months and will be able to visit before my time is up. Nervous to be headed to my new family and job but I know its a feeling to embrace, something exciting about the unknown.