Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spills & Thrills

 Stretching it out.  Big day ahead of us.
 We got a little wet.
 Action shot #1.
 Acton shot #2 : Crushin' it.
 A happy crew.
 Paddle 5!
 Splishy splashy.
This must be the place.
The crews after a day on el río.

A few weekends ago the group packed their bags and hit the road for Tena for some rafting on Río Alto Misahuallí!  Part of being a Manna PD are these wonderful cultural retreats when every three months we take off for some part of Ecuador, usually with some outdoor activity involved.  The reason for these trips is it gives us a relaxing, enjoyable environment to have group discussions on various topics.  We passed the afternoon discussing how to foster individual involvement and relations within a community. These discussions serve as a sounding board for the groups ideas and are incredibly helpful in developing our community. 

After some Hollywood B movie, sharing bags of candy with the other travelers, and a brief dance party on the bus, we arrived at our destination.  Pizza settled our hungry stomachs and we retired to our rooms early anticipating the raging rapids that tomorrow would have in store for us.

A consistent rainfall during the night raised the water levels, thus changing our plans.  After scouting a few rivers and their levels, we decided to test ourselves on the techincal, class 3+/4- rapids of the Alto Misahuallí!  After a review of the safety precautions and equipment, we were on the river getting our feet wet, literally.  Most of the crew had been rafting before, some on bigger rivers with bigger rapids, but the Misahuallí is very technical and requires group cooperation and synchronization in order to maneuver the rapids safely.  We had an amazing time getting to know our raft guides, Jaime and Dan.  Dan, a North Carolina native, has been rafting and working in Ecuador for nearly 15 years now and was expecting his first child.  He said it was probably his last rafting trip for the near future and we assured him we would get him home safely.

Exhausted physically and from sensory overload, the group took a final dip in the river, hopped back in the bus and bid farewell to our beloved raft guides.  We of course returned the following morning to tip them before leaving town.  Always tip your raft guide, always.  Karma runs especially deep in the river.

As always all the best!

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