After two weeks of early mornings and late nights, my adventure to Ecuador has come to a close. Throughout this trip, I was most surprised by how many unique experiences I was able to have in such a short amount of time. The most memorable and suprising of them all has to be the day we spent with the Waorani tribe.
On the morning of day 6, we met some of the people in the Waorani tribe which we would be visiting later and were all given Waorani names. Mine was “O-nai” which means flower. After that, we headed out on the canoes to the outskirts of the Amazon rainforest. It was very muddy and I was very sweaty but, once again, the nature around us really made up for it. The most exciting part was when we all got to swing across a (small) area of water on an actual vine! That was super cool. We were greeted by colorful parrots and got to hold them up close. We also met the rest of the Waorani people and got to try blowing darts onto a target (not to brag, I hit the target). To further welcome us, one of the woman from the tribe gave us all face paint similar to what they wear which was heartwarming. After that, we got to go swimming in the river. It was very nice and refreshing after feeling muddy. I think those were catfish-infested waters but they didn’t bother us luckily. The Waorani people also had some bracelets, bags, and necklaces for sale which were handmade. That night, the tribe performed one of their traditional dances and songs for us. They asked us to sing and dance for them as well and we had to do the most Pitt song possible: Sweet Caroline. It was a sweet moment as we all did the actions and sang together. The Waorani also put on music afterwards and we all got to dance with each other. When we headed back, my heart was full but my body was tired.
To anyone else who’s studying abroad, I would recommend having a positive attitude going in. A location as unexpectable as Ecuador is bound to have things go wrong but anywhere you go to, it really helps to be flexible. It’ll ensure you’re not too disappointed when things don’t go your way. My biggest takeway from this experience is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. My Ecuador trip, for example, was not incredibly luxuroiuous or relaxing. But it was a trip I would’ve never been able to go on otherwise. Thank you for keeping up with blog! I’ll see you on my next Pitt adventure.