We are only allowed one night away during training so we didn't get to spend too much time in Mindo - but we definitely took advantage of the time we had. We left on Saturday morning at 6 am, arrived around 10 in Mindo and left again Sunday afternoon at 5.
We spent the afternoon exploring the great food of Mindo. We went to a chocolate factory and tried some delicious coffee and a homemade brownie. We also went out to dinner at a pizza restaurant where the owner uses all of the vegetables from his home garden for the toppings. Everything was delicious.
The next morning we left at around 9:30 to go on a waterfall hike. I'll just leave you with pictures for this part. I had a ton of fun and again the landscapes were breathtakingly gorgeous.
It was a wonderful trip and I'm so glad I was able to go on it! Also this last pic was taken by Mattie (another trainee) who wasn't able to be in the picture but is awesome.
Coming back from the trip was a bit sad because I would have liked to explore a bit more, but it was great to come back to my lovely host family. It was also nice to know that on Wednesday we were going to find out our permanent sites.
On Wednesday we had a few sessions in the afternoon but finally at one we had our site assignment ceremony. It was wonderfully exciting. The presenters did a great job at creating suspense. They rambled on a bit at the beginning and everyone just wanted them to let us know where our sites were! It was funny though and they did finally get around to it (after again pretending that the presentation broke and they would have to suspend it).
For each site they gave us the name of the town, the school and some facts about the school. They also let us know if the school was looking for anything in particular or if there were any specific challenges they could foresee.
After presenting all of this information they had every trainee stand up. They then explained that they were going to give us some hints to who the trainee was that would be placed at that site. If the clue didn't pertain to you you would sit down. As trainees would sit down there would eventually only be one trainee left standing and a huge applause would break out as the trainee realized they were the one who would be going to that site. It was all very exciting and we had some amazing reactions.
I accidentally sat down on my site and didn't think it was me so they had to tell us all to stand up again. One of the clues was that I love to draw - which is very true but I didn't realize I had mentioned it to staff and I haven't drawn much recently so I just assumed they weren't describing me. Once they had everyone stand back up though and they said "this person has experience teaching in Mexico" I knew I would be headed to PORTOVIEJO!!
We received this packet with information about our school, our host family and our city. I went go much into details now, seeing as how I'll be visiting Portoviejo soon and will be able to give you more information once I get back from my trip. I will say that Portoviejo is in the coastal region of Ecuador and is about a 45 minute bus ride from the nearest beach. It's the capital of the province, has a population of about 250,000 and I will be joined by 3 other wonderful volunteers who have also been placed in Portoviejo.
I am incredibly excited about what lies ahead and can not wait to start this next part of the adventure.