BURGATE BRING CAMP KURI KUCCHU TO YOU…. We are almost half way through our expedition with Burgate and it has been an adventure since I last wrote. We have left the white sands and stunning wildlife of the GalÌÁpagos Islands behind and are back on the mainland of Ecuador. The last stint has been in a little village, in the Andes north of Quito… Upon arrival at our new Camp it was easy to tell that we were high and in a totally different world than before. We had an inkling of the scenery on our bus transfer and unfortunately words will not do it justice…but I will try. Around 3 sides of our camp we surrounded by stunning mountains and hills, greener than you can imagine and almost completely untouched. The 4th side gave way to a spectacular view down the valley. It seems to be a simple way of life here, with farming being the most noticeable source of income. Our first morning was spent settling into the camp and having a mini tour of the village. After lunch we then went up to the community centre, where we then enjoyed some presentations of traditional music and dance from the local community, complete with traditional dress, instruments and singing. I am pleased to say that when the opportunity came to join in with a traditional dance, all students and teachers (plus myself) joined in and needed very little encouragement. Sunday was our first day of project work. We were there right at the beginning of this project-which is a first for me too! The community want to increase tourism and we are helping them build a house to host them in. First task through was to clear the land so we had space to make bricks. Every student has now become a pro with hoes and shovels to clears weeds!! Day 2 was a challenge. We began our trek up one of the hills that was overlooking our camp and headed up into the Paramo. Each person carried their own bag with the days supplies in it. We set off straight after breakfast with our guides. Although a few felt the altitude it was great to see how the group pulled together, carried each others bags and helped each other on. After encouragement, jokes and some banter we all made it to a ridge near the top where we settled down for our packed lunch. The final stint to the very top was complete with a tree sticking out of the point and lots of photos ensued. The clouds then came in and it got a bit colder so we hot footed it back down the mountain and into the sun. The trip down was also complete with laughs as many students opted for their bum and not their feet!! Another full day of project work and we were all hard at work. Making bricks involves getting knee deep in mud to mix mud and water, then add some straw for brick fibres!! We also dug out the foundations for the wall of the house and started filling them with large rocks and stones. Everyone had an awesome day and finished up covered in mud!! Wednesday was a chance to relax. We went into Otavalo town and visited their artisan market in the morning. Lots of colour, clothes, blankets, scarfs and so much more were available to buy. After a few restful hours here we went to Peguche waterfalls, had lunch and strolled through the countryside. All this was followed by a visit to a musicians house. It’s was incredible. They made traditional instruments themselves, taught us the importance of them and where in South America they came from. Pan pipes, rain makers and what I can only describe as a guitar (with different strings and made out of armadillo!). We then had the opportunity to make our own pan pipes. A fantastically relaxing day. image imageimage Back to project work for our last full day in camp and it was a success. Fishing, milking cows, a bit of embroidery and brick making finished off our stay at this camp. We were also able to try a local delicacy of “kwi” which is guinea pig. Again I am proud to say that every single member of the team tried some! Currently the team are mid transit and enjoying one night out of a tent in Quito before we set off again and head east to see what the camp in the Amazon holds in store for us :) Til next time……… image