This past December I travelled to Ecuador. I spent four and half weeks traveling the country visiting small towns, hiking mountains and volcanoes and enjoying the many wonderful aspects of Ecuador and its indigenous cultures.
Beginning in the north I visited towns throughout the countryside of the Imbabura province (named after a large volcano that can be seen on clear days in the area). Once meeting Hector and Estella, the indigenous couple whose extended family produce all of the Ecuadorian textiles found at the Third World Bazaar, I visited more surrounding towns seeing all the different products and production areas in the different villages.
A highlight of the trip was spending most of a week at an eco-village called The Black Sheep Inn. Located in the small village of Chugchilan 4,000m high in the Andean mountains it was a truly beautiful setting. There I hiked and rode horses exploring the nearby volcanic lake, cloud forests and local markets. I also played a few games of frisbee golf on the world’s highest frisbee course teeming with grazing llamas at the Black Sheep.
Another remarkable experience was spending Christmas in a beautiful colonial city called Cuenca. There I witnessed a Christmas day children’s parade replete with thousands of children. I also visited surrounding towns and villages, tasting local cuisines such as roasted guinea pig and meeting many colourful characters eager to converse and show me a good time.
It was a wonderful travel experience and good buying trip. The Bazaar this year will have many new Ecuadorian clothing products; sharp cardigans and beautiful hand-knit sweaters, wood carpets and fine ceramics. Please come and see the new products and support the great people who made them.