On Monday we flew to Coca, about 30 minutes by plane from Quito; about 6 hours by car. There are at least 3 flights a day ferrying many oil workers and some tourists back and forth. When you exit the terminal there is a disjointed combination of tour buses, taxis and trucks with logos for Halliburton, Petroecuador and other related energy companies. After a short taxi ride to the port, we climbed into our motorized canoe and headed two and half hours up the Napo River to Yachana Lodge and Institute.
“Yachana” in Kichwa means a “place for learning”. Not only does it teach people like ourselves about the jungle, but also provides education opportunities for people living in the jungle. Opportunities for education in the jungle are limited to “Distance Learning” where students only attend school 2 days a week. Currently, at Yachana they have a pilot program providing another day every 2 weeks of practical education in a variety of subjects including english, computers, health and nutrition, science, guiding and very basic accounting. Our friends, Bob and Marcia, have been involved with the organization for a number of years.
In the 2 to 3 days we were there, we went out birding, walked in the jungle, visited a farm, did a bit of cooking, provided some design advice and were cleansed by a Kichwa Healer – a great ending to our almost 5 months of traveling. Tonight we head home!