Between adventuring through the Amazon and crafting jewelry, the Sustainable Summer crew spent the day not just learning Kichwa culture, but living it. Luis, the guide, helped introduce ideas on medicine, ecology, jewelry, and music as it is pertained to the culture of the native peoples. A hike full of massive trees, sprawling spiders, dark caverns, and brilliant waterfalls jump-stated the day. Not only did the Sustainable Summer crew traverse steep, rocky terrain and hike through nearly knee-deep mud; they waded and crept through long caverns. Shallow water splashed their ankles as bats flapped over their heads, but the group faced their fear traversing through the caverns with headlamps. Afterwards, some members adventured under a roaring waterfall. The group later had both light-hearted and deep discussions by immersing themselves in the jungle and culture of the Amazon. The group had fun and gained valuable insights into their surroundings and themselves.
– Kyle Krueger
With a day filled with long walks in the forest and the beach, the best reward is chocolate!
Today we learned about the process of chocolate production in Ecuador. It was super inspiring to see such hard work and dedication to such a tedious process.
Though difficult, we all enjoyed the walk to the beach – or la playa as some may call it. At the beach, we enjoyed a traditional Kichwa meal: fresh white trout served on a banana leaf for flavor), heart of palm, and yucca.
At the beach we roasted cacao beans and peeled them in order to be ground. Once ground, the beans were transformed into a delicious paste scooped on fresh bananas.
After lunch, the group visited the chocolate production facility and saw over $10,000 worth of chocolate beans. The group was really blown away!
The greatest event of the day, which was the days conclusion, was the chocolate tasting! The group tried four different types of chocolate, the most notable being ginger chocolate. No one in the group had ever tried such a crazy flavor, but upon biting into the perfectly cut square of fresh goodness, we all immediately wished we had heard of ginger chocolate years earlier.
All in all, today was a day of epic adventures for both our body and our taste buds.
– Linzy Rosen