Hi everyone!

Now I have been at a hostal called Izhcayluma in southern part of Ecuador for seven days. It is located nearby a town called Vilcabamba in the province of Loja. Not so far away from Peru! However, this place is paaaradise... absolutely amazing! The location among the mountains in the nature is absolutely beautiful, and they offer free yoga-clases every morning, hammocks everywhere, and there is even a swimming pool! Just outside the hostel they also have different hiking tours, all from 20 minutes to 7 hours... They do also have a restaurant with an incredible view, furthermore they do also offer massage, reiki healing, and other treatments. A few days ago I had a full body massage and reiki healing for two hours (my first time getting a massage!) and afterwards I felt like a new human being! Oh my gaaad, it was so lovely. Thinking about having another massage actually hehehe.... just because I can!

Today I also went to an air-yoga class. That was so cool! You kind of do things and yoga positions in a special yoga-hammock-kind-of, and it was so fun hanging upside down and doing stuff! A little bit scary, a little bit painful, and an awesome workout. Defenetily something I would love to continue doing!

Tomorrow is the plan to go for a horseride... for 7 hours in a national park. It´s gonna be me, another lady and a guide, and we are gonna ride, do some hiking, visit some waterfall (maybe go for a swim) and have a little lunch somewhere. I am really looking forward to experience Ecuador on a horseback!

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Hi everyone!

I´m still in Cuenca, booked some extra nights, so I´ll be here until Tuesday. I´m in a period where I feel totally empty and tired, I don´t have energy to do anything... so I am mostly just chilling, resting, eating at cafés and restaurants, shopping, and just enjoying the beautiful town. It feels so nice to just do nothing: to just be. But then it is this part of me that is saying "but Tove, you HAVE TO do something now when you are here!" and that stresses me out... however, I am doing things too! I have visited another museum, two churches and a big marketplace called 10 de Agosto... and yesturday I drank the yummiest coffee ever: coffee with nutella! OMG!

I think it was two days ago I visited another museum, and it was a museum in a old house with the old victorian style... oh my lord, the rooms in the hous where HUGE! So beautiful, and the view over the town was marvellous. They showed old paintings, chlotes, photos, books, documents, and old things made of glass. It was really interesting.

And today In the morning I went to the market called 10 de Agosto which is located quite close to my hostal. There you can by fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, grains and so on reaaally cheap. The ordinary food-store that is located just outside the market doesn´t even sell vegetables because they wouldn´t be able to compete... anyways, I bought strawberries, bananas, granadilla, grapes and two mangos. Two mangos cost 1 dollar (8 kr) and the bananas cost 50 cents (4 kr).... I also bought some chocolate, beacuse today is the chocolateday!

Another really funny thing here in Ecuador is the take-way food... oh my god, it is so fun! When you have an almuerzo-take away you always get soup, a main-meal and juice. And the juice you get in a plasticbag. Wtf? The other day I also got popcorn in a bag to my lunch! Hahaha, it feels so weird. The coffee prices here are also ridiculous... the other day I bought a coffe 1 ½ dl for 3 dollars (24 kr) while I can have a whole Almuerzo for 2. 75 dollars! Coffee here is indeed a luxury...

However, after Cuenca I think I will go upnorth again. Perhaps to Riobamba or something... would be cool to visit a volcano! Well well, we´ll see where I´ll go next...

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Today at 12:00 o´clock I went downtown to visit a cultural museum called Pumapongo. It took 30 minutes to walk from where I am staying now... by the way, I´m staying with a family and not at a hostel. when I came here to Cuenca was this the only place who had space for me, every other hostel was fully booked because these week there has been a lot of parties in the town. But I have my own room, bathroom and wifi, so Im happy! I´m amazed how I always bump into so much nice people, just like that...

Anyhow, while downtown I went to a café and ordered a iced mocha latte, toasts with guacamole and scrumbled eggs and a juice... it was SOO good! Hahaha but it was called breakfast at the meny, and I ordered it 13:00 in the afternoon hahaha... After my breakfast I went to the museum on the other side of the street. It was so modern and had really interesting things! At the fist floor there was a really interesting art gallery with drawings, and the rest of the museum demonstrated some of the history of Cuenca and Ecuador, and also about the biggest native tribes there are in the country. It was really interesting. They had a quite big section telling about the Shuar-people whit which I stayed with for a week. Did you know that these people have been in the country for probably 2500 years? And that they had a custom (called tsantsa) of shrinking the heads of their killed enemies in order to get their soul? I publish a text down below here that explains about this odd, old custom, and a picture of a shrunken head (warning, they might be real!)

It was a little scary to see several shrunken heads in the museum... it didn´t say if they were real or fake, but I actually believe they can be real. They look extremely real. However, this tradition is nowadays of course forbidden by the ecuadorian law, so shuarpeople only practice this tradition on sloth-heads.

The museum also showed handcraft, chlotes and other kind of art that belings to these people. Outside the museum there is also an old ruin from the inkas, it was really cool to walk around there thinking about how many other people have been there... especially about those who built this place and put the stones there, houndreds of years ago. Impressive, and beautiful.

When I was done at the museum I just went out walking a bit. The streets are really cozy, especially with the old, small houses in old style! I bought some food and then I went to eat pizza at an italian restaurant. That was tasty! So far I really like Cuenca: it is a beutiful city with beautiful houses, and it has got its own charm. It is so beautiful with all the hills within the city and all the mountains around. There are also several rivers to be found, and there are a lot of trees everywhere and the streets are clean. It is so nice I have decided to stay here a week, until next saturday. Yey!

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Hi everyone!
Yesturday I arrived to a city called Cuenca, which is located a little bit more south in the country and in la Sierra (among the mountaions). Here I have planned to stay until the next saturday, because I think there is a lot to do here! Anyhow, first I have to tell you about another really cool experience that I had in the Shuar-community the day before I left...

Since I got to el Oriente (the eastern part of Ecuador, amazonas) I have had so much problems with mosquitos and insects biting me... My whole body right now are full of small wounds and scars because they give me a lot of itch. Anyhow, Patricio had seen these wounds and told me on monday morning this week; "Tove, I´m going out to the forest to look for a plant that can help to heal your wounds. I´ll be back soon". Hahaha, soon. I think it took the whole afternoon before he came back! But when he did, he had found not only one but two plants that he needed. Patricio and Alicia prepared these two plants by boiling them in water in two different pots, a big pot for one and a small one for the other. After dinnertime, Alicia washed my both legs and armes very carefully with the leafes and water from the big pot, and when I was dry Patricio applied the other plant-essence on my wounds, a brown liquid. Then he said "now you just let it be like this, and we will see how it looks tomorrow morning". So I went to sleep and tried my absolute best to not scratch myself where he had applied this brown thing... oh my god how difficult it was! Anyways, when I woke up, I could directly see that my legs didn´t look red or inflamed anymore, and all my wounds looked a lot better. On my arms too! On the morning I got the same treatment again. That was really awesome to see... it works. Their knowledge about the medical plants really work.

Patricio also told me that this monday, the school teacher called José in the morning got stung by a scorpion... and not any scorpion, but a deadly one, whose venom benum you. However, as I remember from the story Patricio told me, they tied something aroun José´s elbow in order to make the venom and pain to stay in the arm and not spread to the rest of the body, and then Patricio went to get a plant who would cure him from the venom. In some way they applied this plant directly without preparing it, and José got cured. They literally have got life-saving knowledge these people... and it is not only one person in the community who knows these things, but everybody knows everything about these plants and what they are good for. It is truly impressing!

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It´s almost five o´clock in the afternoon and it is raining and thundering a lot. It is really cozy to sit in the bed and just listen to the sounds… it is really relaxing. Haha, if it weren´t for the rain coming in and making my bed wet, it would have been perfect!

Today after breakfast I, Patricio, Alicia and their son went out to do some traditional fishing. We were walking for a while in the rainforest, until we came to a place as I understood were their garden. There were tomatoes, pinapple and other kind of fruits I don´t recognize. Anyhow, we stopped there for a while because obviously we needed the roots of a special plant for our fishing. So they digged up some roots before we continued the djunglewalk. After a few minutes we reached our destination: a small stream. Patricio went a little bit upstreams before he put the roots on a stone in the middle of the stream, and started smashing them with a smaller stone. From the roots came a white liquid that Patricio made sure filled the stream… when all the water had been colored light-brown by the liquid, intresesting things started to happen. All the animals in the water seemed to get dull and weak, so now it was just for us to pick the fishes with our hands when we saw them. The size of the fishes varied between the lenght of a little finger to the length of a hand. It was really weird, but really fun! We were there picking fishes for maybe one hour, and in total I think we were out more or less two hours. When we were done, Alicia took the fishes and wrapped them in palm-leafes, we returned home, cooked the fishes and ate them for lunch together with yuca. It was really tasty! Supercool to have had this traditional-shuar-fishing-experience. I just wonder… how the heck did they know from the beginning that exactly that root had that quality?


It is amazing how this people live here. They build their houses with wood from the forest, they drink the water from the river and they don´t need to by any food at all because the forest gives them everything they need. They also have solarpanels, so they have lamps now, but it is a new thing. I asked Alicia if they don´t need anything from the cities, and she said "no, only salt and sugar". Everybody living here look so strong and healthy, but most importantly, really happy and peaceful; they are always laughing about something! I asked Patricio what is the best thing about living like this here in the forest, and if I remember it right he said it is because of the tranquility and because they live in harmony with the nature. These people also have like a garden around their houses with food and plants that can be used as medicine… and they know what every plant is good for. Many times they can even say the scientific name of the plant in latin! It is amazing to see how connected they are to the forest and how much they know about the environment they live in… it is really impressive. These people are so strong because they are so traditional and modern at the same time: they know how the forest and the ecosystems work and they can see why the forest is so important to perserve, and they also have plans for how they can develop and improve their community at the same time they keep on living in harmony with nature in a traditional way. They are really aware of their situation, and they are looking for ways to solve already existing and future problems. As I and my sister would say, here they live "twentyfour hour, full power, DJUNGLE SHOWER!"

PS: the picture below is from another house they have Patricio and Alicia, but it is not in the community but alone in the djungle. Really simple and really cozy!

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Now I have been three nights here in the Shuar-community called Mutints. Yesturday and today have I been giving english-classes in the school, and it has been fun! This community consists of 8 families I think, and in total they are aproximately 30 people. It took one hour to walk to this place from the road, over hills and over rivers, balancing on timbers to get over the waters… defenetily a true and very exhausting djungle-adventure! And from the city Macas it took 4 hours to get to Macuma, and from Macuma 15 minutes in car and 1 hour jungle-walk in order to get to the community… I defenetily feel like I´m far away from everything!

The houses here are made of wood, and some has got zink-roof while other are made in a traditional way using a roof made of leafes. I really like the traditional huts, because they are so cozy and it doesn´t make so much noise when it rains heavily! I am staying in a traditional house together with the owners, called Patricio and Alicia, who are really friendly. I have a bed, but nothing more. No madrass, no pillow, nothing. I don´t think anyone has got it, because it is to expensive and it is too difficult to get here. I´m happy I brought my sleepingbag!

However, it is a really nice atmosphere here in the village, a lot of respect and a lot of laughter, and I feel really safe and comforable with these people. The children are also very calm and respectful, even in school. And these are children in the ages 5 to 10… quite amazing!

Hahaha and I can defenetily say that I have got a new food experience here…! They always give me their own traditional food, and I try everything… they eat a LOT of cooked bananas, a plant called Yuca (which I have learned to like), another potato-like thing, and palm-plant... They have also served me some kind of bird-meat (it was really hard, but kind of good), 7 cm big and fat larvae and today Patricio had been hunting and cought a uwanta (I think it is called Paca in english, a half-meter long animal that lives in the amazonas) and Alicia cooked the whole thing for lunch. It was really good! They also eat a lot of fruits and seeds that they collect in the forest. The other day I was also served a huge cooked frog! Hahaha, I wasn´t prepared for that… however I ate the legs, and it was exactly like chicken but with a taste of fish… really weird. And it was really weird to have a whole cooked animal on my plate, never happened before! I´m looking forward to try more of the tradicional amazonian food…

Today after lunch I went down to the river and had a swim together with some girls from the school… the water is so fresh, and I felt like a new human being afterwards! Here you cand drink the riverwater, and I am very happy that I don´t have to walk that track 1 hour every second day in order to by water… thanks God!

I also have greetings from the whole community here to all you reading this. They are looking for someone who would like to be an english teacher here in the community, eather teach for a week or for months if it is possible. They really want their kids to learn english, but right now it is so difficult because there is noone around who can speak the language. For anyone coming here, it is an amazing oppurtunity to live the traditional Shuar-life in the amazonas, and they give you a bed and their traditional food without charging you for it. They are really calm and friendly people, and make you feel like a part of the tribe!

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Now I haven´t posted anything for ten days... I simply don´t know exactly what to write. Emotionally I have been very tired... there is a lot going on inside. I feel incredibly strong at the same time I feel incredibly weak. I am learning to stand on my own feet, make my own decisions, and to trust myself. And I start to see that I can actually make it on my own, I am not
mom´s little girl anymore. I feel weak because I often doubt myself and I am worried about everything, but I feel so damn strong becuase I do these things anyways and I prove for myself that I can do them and I solve the problems that occur. I start to feel proud of myself!

At my birthday, the 8th of October, I visited a man called Cesar and his family en Puyo. We had an amazing traditional kitchwa dinner called maitu (I don´t know how to spell it) and he showed me his own pharmacy-garden. He seriously has got a little home-planted forest by his house in the town, were all the plants can be used as medicines. Valuable knowledge that not many people know about today! It was a really pleasant visit. Muchas gracias Cesar!

However, the coming week I will go to a new place in Ecuador. I will go like 2 hours more south, to a Shuar-community called Mutints and I will be there for a while to teach english for at least one week. We will see for how long time I will be there, it depends on how I like it. Exciting and scary to do something new and to get to know one of Ecuadors native people!


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Yoh.... it doesn´t pass a day without feeling sore in my body. With this kind of track and way of living you don´t need to worry about not getting enough exercise! I have noticed that I sleep better and I feel more balanced in my body, and I can relax in a comletely different way now. To do exercise, being in nature, being alone and in tranquility, to feel the weather, to be free from internet and social media, to live with no more things than necessary.... this way of living makes me feel connected and centered in myself. I can relax much more because there is much less mental pressure in this way of living, so much less expectations.... I sleep like a princess and I take one thing at a time. Many of you might wonder what I do when I got totally 100 % free time without internet? Well, the things I do is basically washing my chlotes, swimming in the river when it is sunny, I listen to music, I sing, I am spending a lot of time in my hamaca, reading books, writing, sometimes doing yoga, or just sleeping when I get tired. Cooking also takes some time, but I don´t want to do it more than necessary in order to save petrol for the generator.

When you like isolated and far out in the forest it all becomes a matter of saving energy. For example, this generator runs on petrol, and I have to carry this petrol all the way through the djungle. 6 L of petrol last for more or less 5 days, so when it is on you cook and charge everything you need at the same time, and you shower because then you also have light in the baathroom so you can see something. Then you turn it of as soon you are done, so I never have it on just in order to have light for example. When I need light I light candles and put candles everywhere... soooo cozy! But also, when I buy food in Puyo I have to conciderate what food i buy: for example, I don´t buy milk or yoghurt or meat because they are heavy and last for a very short time in the jungle, and it is not good to buy beans and other stuff that takes long time to cook because then I would use more petrol..

The things I am doing now her is basically teaching english in the school and teaching Lucero english so that she can continue her classes when I am gone too. I really like being in the school, the children are so friendly and so cute! We have a lot of fun in our english classes, we teach mainly by games. I enjoy it!

Yesturday I went to that place in the forest again where I damaged my had two weeks ago. Look at those spines! PAINFUL. I just had to upload a photo of them, because they were really outstanding.

And today when I got to Puyo, I happened to see a parade on the street. As I understood, it was a demonstration by the indigenous people, standing up for their rights. In this country. It is constantly a fight between the native people and the governement and complanies who want to destroy the forest in order to get wood and petrol from the lands where these people live. They have almost no political voice, but thery are gathered and stand together, so through that they still gain some power. It is powerful to see.

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This is what I ate for breakfast the other day when the food was finnished and I couldn´t go to Puyo to buy more because the rain kept me trapped... a fried egg and fried oat-porridge. I know, it looks fancy! And it was also quite nice hahaha... At that moment I was greatful that I at least didn´t have to be hungry that day. It is a little bit worrying when the food gets finnished, when there is almost no petrol for the electricity generator, and when the rain keeps me stuck in the house. I have also been thinking about, what if I break a leg when I an walking that track, or what if I hurt myself here at the house? I cannot make a phone call, and people never pass or visit me. It would take days before someone would start wondering what has happened to me. it is a scary thought, but it is the reality I live in right now. If I got hurt or really sick, I would still have to get through the forest, because to the place where I am staying is so far away that no car or ambulancec helicopter could help me. At the same time, this risk makes me feel more alive and it makes me more alert and careful about everything. But so far I am doing very fine and enjoying the life in Amazonas!

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Today I am in Puyo again! I just went to a Ice cream bar, Heladería, and ate a lot of yummies... it was so delicious!

In this writing moment I am sitting on my internet café to have internet for a while, and I just drank a café latte. Luxury.

This coming monday I have been one month in Ecuador... and I have already learned a lot...! My spanish has improved and I feel more comfortable talking it now, and that is a wonderful feeling. I feel really relaxed in the house; it is wonderful to be staying alone in the amazonas; so peaceful. But at the same time, it has also been a huge challenge.... I have noticed that my mind has caused me a lot of worry, because I have no people or internet around me that can distract me from my mind anymore. Therefore, I feel so emotional and sensitive all the time, because the silence and aloneness has forced me to deal with my internal issues and with my mental vioce. I am still quite worried and restless, but now I can feel many small pieces finally falling into their places, and that makes me feel more calm. I know I am on the right way.

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