Our second quarterly retreat was held at the tucked away, cozy hostel known as Secret Garden, located directly at the base of Cotopaxi. Complete with mist laden fields of horses and llamas, long winding trails, waterfalls, delicious food served three times daily, and even a baby cow that thinks it's a dog- it's definitely one of the most memorable locations we've been to thus far in Ecuador. After heavy talks of leadership and community development on our first day there, led by our fearless leader Heather K, we played a riveting game of Ecuadorean Jeopardy. The next day we took a so-called "stroll" to see a waterfall- about a 45 minute walk. Led by a British-Guatemalan in shorts and rubber boots, we, the program directors of Manna Project International Ecuador, our dog, three other dogs, and a baby cow headed out for what turned out to be a death-defying rock-face scaling, rapid wading haul up to see a (albeit beautiful) regular sized waterfall.
It was definitely a team-building kind of hike.
Secret Garden- Cotopaxi AKA heaven
It's slow going when you're hiking with a hungry baby cow.
Photographical proof that llamas are real.
Aside from the necessary clerical work required for one to take a three week long vacation, it should be smooth sailing from here on out for the PD's of Ecuador. Excited to see our families and to jet set off to every known location in the western hemisphere- we have already started packing our bags, but with heavy hearts to leave the valley and our beloved community. Though we shall return in January post-haste and with renewed ambition and excitement to continue the work we're doing. Until then!