Monday, August 13, 2012

Mini-extended vacation

After 7 months of being here, we have our first visitor- our niece Monika.  She arrived this past Wednesday late in the evening in the Quito airport. Since we had to drive the 5 hours to pick her up AND we acquired our drivers license and have access to a car we decided to take a mini vacation and show her (and us) some of the sites.

On Thursday we were able to visit the equator (La mitad del mundo) where the kids walked the line, balanced an egg and of course flushed the toilets - I mean really, we must know which way the water flows on the equator!

From there we drove to Otovalo, a beautiful little town 2 hours north of Quito located in a valley. This town is known for its artisans market.  We stayed the night in a little house which was one of 6 little cottages. Notice the word "little"?  Let us just say that the four "adults" in the group had to duck to enter the doorways and to stand in the kitchen.  I'm pretty sure the cottages were built for Ecuadorians.   The view, however, was stunning.  The market was alive with color and the town was very quaint.

From Otovalo we traveled 2 hours southeast to a village called Papallacta at 11,000 feet.  Years ago our mission organization helped to build a hydroelectric plant and also 4 houses to allow the workers to live on the site. Although the mission has since sold the plant and houses, the new owners allow HCJB missionaries to rent the houses cheaply.  We had planned on renting the house for one night and visiting the natural hot springs.  As we all know, our plans are not always carried out as expected.

On Saturday we loaded up the car to visit the hot springs and lo and behold the car would not start.  No spark. Nothing.  Now, Eric being a jack of all trades and having been a part of a family of 5 boys he is used to being his own mechanic.  With the tools of a fellow missionary who was staying in the house next to us he was able to diagnose the problem. Ignition module fried.

Diagnosis- yes. Parts in a village of 500 people?  Nope.  Praise the Lord we had internet and he was able to call a parts store in our hometown in Michigan and talk through the problem. He was also able to locate a dealer an hour from where we were and still are.

The kids handled it well and spent more time outside hauling cut grass to build a pile to jump into and hiking and swimming in a little pool that was recently built.  Eric is currently at the second dealers shop in hopes of getting the part tested. If the part is truly bad then he will need to travel another hour to get the part and then will return via bus to install it.  Always an adventure!

In the meantime, although the story is not over, we are so grateful to have a roof over our heads, internet and a washing machine and dryer! Although we did not plan on having a 6 day vacation, the Lord knew and prompted us to buy some extra groceries while we had the chance along with laundry soap. He also provided a house that had no other renters for 3 days. Counting our blessings!

Enjoy the photos and we'll let you know how our adventure turns out when we find out ourselves!
 Monika has arrived!
 Straddling the equator.
 The egg has balanced!
 Jacob and the alpaca.
 Checking out the water flow- which way does it go down? (counter- clockwise)
 New hats for all.
 Did I mention the cottages were little? This one is meant for one person.

 The many colors of the market.
Entertainment while waiting for word on the car parts.

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