Day 6: Two Languages Removed

*We had no cell service for a large portion of our trip, so I’m uploading all of these in chronological order from the US now that we’re back home! They’re all dated by the day they happened.*

With the Waorani!

Day 6: 

Welcome to another blog entry! 

I had many expectations before beginning this trip, and the more we progress through the trip, the more have been confirmed or denied (more have been denied than confirmed). As mentioned in a previous blog post, my main goal in all of my experiences and expectations is to keep an open mind. I didn’t have much exposure to unique perspectives, backgrounds, places, etc… until I came to Pitt. I’m expecting my two weeks in Ecuador to be similar to Orientation Week, but at light speed and with one hundred times the new-ness. 

Professionally, I expected to learn more about business and how different the typical workday is of an American working in a business setting versus an Ecuadorian business-person. Personally, I expected to expand my perspective of the world. I had many subconscious preconceived notions about foreign countries based on my own background, home town, and upbringing, and I hoped to shatter them so I could rebuild something with a more accurate depiction of how people outside of Oakland, the Northeast, or the United States live.

I expected to struggle with the language barrier heavily. While it’s been an issue at times, there are many people on this trip that speak Spanish to varying degrees of fluency that have been able to help out along the way. I also expected mostly everyone in the cities in Ecuador to speak English, as that has been the case with other foreign countries that I’ve traveled to. That is certainly not the case. We’re leaving to stay with the Waorani tribe in the Amazon for two days, and they speak Wao first with Spanish as their second language. I speak English and about two words of Spanish. I would say the language barrier has been the largest expectation that I had to cope with- it turned out to be more of a challenge than I would have expected but with fewer consequences than I expected.

I’m expecting my horizons and preconceived notions to be challenged further the longer we’re immersed in the culture, but I’m really happy so far that none of my expectations have had negative realities. Every discovery and realization while here has been amazing.

Our next stop is staying with the Waorani tribe deep in the Amazon where I’m sure to have all of my preconceived notions about language, native tribes, and their culture shattered.

Until then,

Katie Gallo

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