THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
Thanks to movies about Charles Darwin, and reading his books over the years, the Galapagos, the island group owned by Ecuador, has always been on of the last places on my bucket list to visit, but what a wonderful surprise it was, when beginning to plan, to find out that there is plenty of Montessori work needed in Quito and environs AND on the islands! Here I will share just a little bit about both.
Advised (wisely it turns out) to spend our few days her on one island rather than short stops in many islands, we stayed in San Cristabal. More on the Galapagos and this island can be seen here:
SOUTH AMERICA FALL 2019
These days spent in Ecuador were a continuation of work in Peru and Colombia. To see those blog posts:
Birds are unique and important in exploring the Galapagos. Here you see the famous Blue-footed Boobies and one if Darwin’s finches that tried to share our breakfast each day. To see more:
However my dream was to actually stand in the presence of a real ancient Galapagos tortoise. We think this one was about 200 years old. If only she could speak to us.
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Our Guide – Federico Idrovo Bermeo
Our guide was a very knowledgeable young man who was homeschooled on the islands and now, as we heard everywhere we went, is the best guide on the islands! For his whole education years he and his brothers spent 2 days each week on the beaches and 2 days each week inland and 1 day on academics. His father is a writer and his mother an educator why moved here from Quito after their first visit years ago.
After our many conversations about education, we were invited to visit the school the family has started on a coffee plantation in the rain forest. They have always followed the ideas of Montessori and Pestalozzi and wanted to talk more about this. The parents and children of the school, and the grandmother, were very happy to share what they are doing and they wanted to know more. Lyda Franky, head of the AMI affiliate for Colombia, with whom I was traveling, drew a sketch of the 4 stages of development laid out by Montessori and it was clear that the children were just as interested in everything she said as were the adults.
Of the many examples of terrestrial and sea life we experienced here, the sea lions were the most amazing perhaps because they have no fear of humans and will go on with life, as this mother nursing her baby, within a few feed of anyone, human or animal.
QUITO – the workshop and school
More than 40 people connected with the Dejemos Huellas (Let’s leave footprints – in life) foundation and Montessori school for the very poor indigenous and the very well to do attended out Montessori workshop. It was co-sponsored by FEMCO, the AMI Montessori Affiliate in Colombia.
I spoke about Montessori an education that prepares one for the unpredictable future, and also about The Universal Child, Guided by Nature, the book that had been translated into Spanish. Lyda Franky spoke about the role of the adult and the four stages of development (0-6, 6-12, 12-18, 18-24). It was a pleasure to be with all of these people, to sign books, and to answer the very interesting questions. For more about the foundation see here:
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After the workshop, even though it was nighttime we visited the school and the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catholic environment where children learn about this religion. In this video one of the teachers singing in the beautiful infant community environment created by Teanny Hurtado from Mexico, in preparation for teacher training.
QUITO – the old city
We only had part of one day to see old Quito so we made the most of it. There are many churches and they are beautiful.
We are in the Andes mountain range and there are more indigenous people than I have seen any other South American city, sometimes in beautiful national dress, and often selling the delicious tropical fruit of the region. But one also sees modern shops with up-to-date styled clothing and, high tech shops, batman and many other reminders that we are indeed still in the 21st century on the planet Earth.
Often as we wondered the streets, stopping to listen to musicians and enjoy the crafts that were sold everywhere, we saw posters advertising Colada Morada on the walls of the old town. Our hostess Monica Ferri was pleased to treat us to this gastronomic treat. Colada Morada is a thick purple liquid that is prepared with typical fruits of Ecuador, spices and corn flour. It is traditionally consumed on November 2, “the days of the dead”, along with t’anta wawa, a bread with various fillings (we chose chocolate) that has the shape of a doll, hence the name – representations of the dead wrapped in a blanket.
As we prepared to leave the old city and to go to the airport to return to Colombia a group of men and women in colorful traditional costumes and jewelry filled the street and began to sing and dance. What an end to our short but rich exploration of old Quito.
This last picture is such a mixture of humanity and nature, and new. The gold ceiling of the Spanish-influenced church from 500 years ago, and standing on the beach on the Galapagos islands at sunset holding a modern iPhone in my hands to record the beauty.
Thank you for returning to Ecuador with me through these pictures and video clips.
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