As I boarded the bus I to my next volunteer spot, I reviewed the directions:
“Bus to Bahia transfer towards Manta then grab a cab to Santa Marionita. Get dropped off at the top, walk towards the nice beach and look for a fence with a sign that says Donkey Den“.
Hmmm, this should be good.
Knowing the adventure I have ahead of me, you can imagine the comfort I felt when aboard walks sweet Rocio! Remember her? She was the one that helped me get to Canoa and provided hours of Spanish practice due to her lack of English. Here we are on the last bus, followed by a photo from today.
To make it even better of a ride, I meet these friendly guys from Auburn. If you’re unfamiliar with California, they live in a city that hugs my hometown! Big, beautiful, little world out there.
Off we go to the next bus transfer. The last seat open was passenger side to the driver, score!
It’s a hot day and I’m pleasantly melting directly in the sun. The cure? Those silly little salesmen are back! I passed on the ice cream cone from the last bus…
…but this time I heard the word “yogurt” and you know it, I’ll take one please!
The man sitting next to me must have recognized my enjoyment from that frozen treat, because before I knew it, I was trying out this little delight. “Helado de Coco con chocolate” is basically homemade frozen chocolate coconut milk.
Finally arriving to Manta, Rocio directs me away from the taxi line and signals me to follow her. We hop into a cab on the outside of the terminal as she tries to explain my next step. I really didn’t comprehend anything until I was literally jumping into the back of a moving truck that was apparently going to take me to my final stop.
These little camionetas pack in as many as they can and head in one direction. You simple pound on the window that divides you and the driver and it stops long enough for you to jump out. This little trick costs $1 verses the $13 cab ride that I was originally headed for. Thank you Rocio!
I’ve arrived to “the top” where after a quick knock on the window and a smooth escape, I find myself standing at this view. Next step “walk to the nice beach and look for The Donkey Den”.
I’m greeted with a quick hello and an offer that made the entire journey feel like this was the experience I came for.
A few times a week, the locals gather with a enormous net and start with it out in the water to gather fish. Together, they pull against the wake for about an hour, slowly bringing it in towards the shore.
I must of looked like a kid on the side lines wanting a turn because with a big smile, a few of them invited me over to give a hand. Priceless.
As it gets closer, the small fish are jumping and the birds know what’s coming next… The catch of the day!
Side note: Really look at the first picture, can you see the boy in the background? Looks like he’s about to get a fish in the face!
During the festivities, a few of the local boys were adding a little fun by throwing fish parts into the air for the birds to snag. It was like playing toss with a puppy, these birds were all over it!
Once everyone got their share, which to my observation was just a casual distribution, the crowd disbursed and the beach cleared to a calm sunset. The end result of the towns effort was our fish dinners for the next few days!
Puts a beautiful new enhancement on the idea of “teamwork” to feed a village.