Living and Giving

The Wisdom of Ecuador: \”There Is No Security Here\” – Why Ecuador Is Safe (Part Eight)

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This is the last of an eight-part series on my volunteer trip to Ecuador. This is an unedited account of a personal journey and will be followed by stories from a few more of my international volunteer trips. Many of the experiences on these trips would become the impetus for founding UniversalGiving™.


“There Is No Security Here.”   Why Ecuador Is Safe

That was our greeting at the Kapawi Lodge.  They simply told us there was no security, no guards, no room keys.  Everything was open; even our rooms. Where can you go in the world where you don’t have to worry about security?  They said you can just leave anything around as you like. But for “Westerners” they had installed safety boxes in our huts if we were concerned. They were makeshift brown wooden cubbies with a key.

Here we stayed in thatched huts.  All the doors, openings, windows are conjoined with wooden pegs.  You leave the long, lanky plastic rubber boots outside the hut (not to be missed anywhere else!!) due to the mud!  If the sun was out, showers were lightly powered by solar heating, but mostly it was just water. There is no electricity, phone, email, computers.

There is one radio.  It is so they can find out when the plane has taken off and will be arriving.

The food here was amazing.  Ecuadorian food is very simple – breakfast is fruit juice, fruit and a piece of bread.  Lunch is the big meal, and they usually don’t have dinner, or might eat any left over from lunch.  They have the most lovely soups – mais which are huge kernels of corn, and then I believe a kale or spinach and butternut or some type of squash soups…then meat and lots of fish.  Our last night was so special – fruit arrayed out in front of you —  (bananas, papaya and mango that you eat interspersed throughout the meal) – a large bowl of broth, with vegetables and meat, and steamed fish wrapped in banana leaves.  No dessert usually.  It was lovely!

What is really cute about Ecuadorians is they often serve popcorn with dinner instead of bread. 🙂 Kind of fun.

Wrapped in a Peace

One of my favorite parts about this lodge was the hammocks. As you listened to all these sounds, you were bathed in the peaceful, comforting hammocks right on the edge of the forest.  The sounds, cool but humid air, enveloped as you hear myriads of now soothing, quietly vibrant noises to our ears, and watch the flocks of birds come and flow and play with the forest.  It was being wrapped in a peace – it was the privilege of being allowed to be a distant but still real part of the special fringes of nature,  participating….

We ended with a beautiful place and white washed, simple elegant down-to-earth pristine hotel in Otavalo, a city in Ecuador, for our download and final sharing of lessons learned.  It was perfect, different and the same.  Sweeping beautiful countryside, land, hills, farms, unfarmed, clouds, bright blue, light nature, all clear and clean.  Again the beauty of Ecuador surround us at every step.


You can take action.  Support projects in South America:

Give $10 to plant a tree in the rainforest
Give $25 to give water to a villager
Give $115 to give light to a villager
Volunteer in conservation in Ecuador
Spend the summer teaching in Ecuador