Mitchell Mankin ecuador 2012
If you could change one thing about your home community, what would it be? I would introduce every person to every other person on their block. People don't interact face to face nearly as much as they should.
3 Hours Downriver
May 23, 2012
Not too long ago, I was invited by my family to travel with them to a wedding in Cruz Chicta, the ancestral home of my host father’s family. I jumped at the chance to see a marriage in a village three hours farther down the Rio Napo, a place still lacking paved roads and electricity. The trip there was an experience in itself. In the three hours that water was rushing by our motor canoe, I saw more of the jungle than I had in all my time in Ecuador up to that point. The jungle is a vast…
May 17, 2012
Although I am now back in the United States, I haven’t forgotten Ecuador. When I dream, I’m still back in Ecuador, among the plantains and cacao, working with the women of Sinchi Warmi. All these memories that come back to me at unexpected moments led me to think back to a little piece of writing that I wrote many months ago, about halfway through my time in Ecuador. It reminds me of my second home, and I thought it might be worth sharing with all of you. I hope you enjoy it.
I was given a task: Find the…
March 27, 2012
Jacob* runs a little tienda sells just two things: local jewelry and books. Jacob appears much like many of the other store owners in town. I probably passed him many times without really noticing him. The first time I really saw Jacob, he was talking to a couple of enthralled Germans seated on the sidewalk. He gestured emphatically as he described a fictional life with himself as the main character. As I stopped and turned, he told them of how he used to live in the jungle, on his own patch of land. He had tropical fruits in abundance and…Read the rest »
4 Hours Downriver
March 8, 2012
In December, I was invited by my family to a wedding in Cruz Chicta, the ancestral home of my host father’s family. I jumped at the chance to see a marriage in a village still lacking paved roads and electricity. The trip there was an experience in itself. In the four hours that water was rushing by our motor canoe, I saw more of the jungle than I had in all my time in Ecuador up to that point. The jungle is a vast green sea of trees that has a tendency to blur into one monolithic entity, but…
Sinchi Aqua Center
November 22, 2011
The pickup truck turns off the wide gravel road from Misahualli and onto a narrower track, carrying you and four members of your new family in the back. Thirty feet above your head, the trees nearly touch. You’re headed into the jungle. Then, to your right appears a half-constructed house, and chickens scatter back towards it to avoid the car’s wheels as dozens more watch from under its deck. The trees close back in, only to retreat once again to offer a panoramic view of two great, high ceiling-ed buildings nestled in between three large ponds. As you drive around…Read the rest »
November 10, 2011
There are two people living in my body. One of them is writing to you now. He’s constantly thinking, turning an analytical eye to important and decidedly not important things. He’s often told that he thinks too much, which is true. The other doesn’t have that luxury. His mind is absorbed entirely by trying to process two new languages and one new culture: Spanish, Kichwa, and San Pedro de Aucaparte.
But that’s not the only difference. In many respects, my Ecuadorian side is an empty vessel. In order to absorb everything that I see in the Amazon, I need to…
I Want To Be A Quiteño
September 22, 2011
Sorry it’s been so long that I haven’t written. Nearly every day I’ve started a blog post, only to look at it the next day and discredit it as naive, cliche, or based on ideas that I no longer hold to be true. Finally, I’ve decided to let go of the next day and present a moment in time. This particular moment in time is 16 de Septiembre, last Friday night (or more accurately, Saturday morning). I had just returned from a fantastic night out in Quito, and this is what I was thinking…
I want to be…