Sunday in Saraguro

This weekend we traveled to Saraguro, a beautiful area about two and a half hours away from Cuenca. Check out Eli's previous blogpost to learn more about our Saturday in Saraguro. On Sunday, we participated in a special ceremony to cleanse our group from the malas energias (bad energy) that we had from 2014. Three leaders from the Saraguro community led the ceremony. It was meaningful and moving to learn more about their traditions and the importance of this ceremony. We were each given a special flower and rubbed it across our foreheads while thinking about our malas energias from 2014. Then we placed the flowers on the ground and left them there to represent that we were leaving all of those malas energias behind us and starting 2015 fresh. We were not allowed to take photos during the ceremony, but afterwards we took a group photo with the leaders from Saraguro. Also pictured in our photo are students from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, who traveled with us to Saraguro.

After the ceremony, we had a fantastic traditional lunch with rice, potatoes, bread, chicken, and cuy (guinea pig). That's right, we had the opportunity to try guinea pig! In Ecuador, cuy is a delicacy reserved for special occasions. There were mixed emotions about eating cuy, but it was definitely a good experience in stepping out of our comfort zone and trying new things! We got on the road and arrived in Cuenca for dinner and catching up with our host families before our first day of school on Monday.

We are all excited to begin our internship rotation at el Ministerio de Salud Publico tomorrow morning. Hasta luego! 

Group photo after the cleansing ceremony with St. Ambrose University students.
Some students during our first day of Spanish class at the CEDEI!