This first week in Bahía has been amazing! There’s really no other word that comes to mind, and I’m not even sure where to begin! I guess I will start with our first day here. After a long seven-hour bus ride from the mountainous terrain of Quito, we arrived on the coast of Bahía Saturday night. It was mostly just a blur of meeting people, eating dinner, and walking around. Our program coordinator and director were both very welcoming and helpful in getting us to our volunteer house. After we ate the huge dinner of sandwiches, plantain chips, and hot dogs that was set before us on the dining room table, we walked around the town and along the beach before settling into the house for the night.
The next morning we met with our director, who showed us places around town, including the market, which had everything from fruit to fish and it was all so fresh! We also saw Genesis, the school that we are all working with and where the active English teaching program is being introduced. Continuing the tour, we were shown places around the main part of town, such as shops (including Ecudorian “Costo” and “Best Buy”), a beautiful church (which hosted a wedding later in the week), and the Internet cafe.
After trying to take in all of the new sights and culture of Bahia during the tour, we decided to eat at a place called Lulu’s, which is apparently the only real bar scene in town on the weekends. It is also owned by an American, so it was nice to be able to get a little taste of home with hamburgers and French fries, or hamburguesas y papas fritas, instead of the usual Ecuadorian meal of rice, some type of plantain or banana, and queso!
We then decided to go to the beach, where we went in the water, soaked up some sun, and met a group of locals along with an American girl, who was here with a group from the University of Texas working on a film project. It was nice talking to them and being able to make friends with locals and fellow Americans. After talking for a while, we were invited to play soccer, or fútbol, with our new friends. I was a little hesitant at first because I didn’t know how competitive they would be and I’m not the most confident soccer player! However, once I was talked into it, I was really glad that I decided to play because not only was it a great cultural experience, but also an awesome work out! I can’t wait to learn even more about the people and the culture of Ecuador!