A Travellerspoint blog

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FINALLY getting excited

For some reason we've had a really hard time getting excited about this trip, not sure why.... We've been trying, without success, to make contact with the brothers in San Gabriel. This is where we served in the mountains of Ecuador. Well, we finally made contact just minutes before we're due to head out. Brothers said they were talking about us just yesterday, hope it was true :). NOW we're finally excited. We'll keep in touch.

Posted by dypphelan 18:36 Comments (1)

We're here

overcast 77 °F

Arrived in Quito at 11:30 a.m. today after one of the worst flights ever. Nothing happened, just seats were very uncomfortable. I think I could learn to hate flying!!!! Even though the official welcome program at the airport starts tomorrow, there were a few brothers there to welcome the early arrivers. We'll post a few photos. Turns out there were about 15 JW's on the plane.

After a two hour ride we arrived in our old stomping grounds, Ibarra. Population when we left in 2001 was 80,000 but now almost 190,000 so the city has really changed. We had not slept for nearly 40 hours so just came direct to Hosteria and took a 3 hour nap. Now waiting on dinner here at the Hosteria, a beautiful place.

Tomorrow we will venture into Ibarra and start visiting the areas we remember and try to make contact with some local brothers. Since our families are reading, this blog will be in English but happy to answer any questions in Spanish. We have not been away even a day and we're already missing everyone at home!!! Love to all.

Volcan Imbabura, 14,000 feet tall. We lived right at the base:

First meal in Ecuador, excelente!

Posted by dypphelan 05:28 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

Day 2, first full day in Ibarra, our old stomping grounds


Today I'll be brief and just add a few comments to certain photos below.

First, a few shots of the Hosteria where we're staying and some of the scenery here. They grow their own coffee (you will see a few plants below) and it's excellent.

The Kingdom Hall we used to attend here:

We were traveling around the city in a bus just to get a feel and saw some brothers preaching. We got out and and introduced ourselves. A sister nearby came running and said I recognized that laugh, I knew it had to be Pascale!!! Of the group of about 20 that gathered we knew about five. We made arrangements to meet at a specific spot tomorrow so other brothers could come to see us. Photos below:

Apartment where we used to live on second floor, kind of rundown now. It used to be very nice.

This is a park where we used to preach and just chill out:

We spent almost two hours trying to track down an indigenous family we used to study with. Everything had changed so much it was hard to find the place. They lived in the campo (very poor!!!) with no running water, electricity, casa de lodo, etc. They became very dear to us. Anyway, after almost two hours we found an old woman who knew where the son lived. Turns out the father had died and the mother had moved to Quito. However, when the son Miguel first saw us he said "David, Patti", recognized us right away. Had a nice chat.

Posted by dypphelan 16:59 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

Day 3, woke up to a beautiful day!!!!

overcast 62 °F

This is supposed to be the rainy season, but no rain for two months. However, last night we had a big rain storm with thunder, etc. Everything smells nice and fresh now. Some of the nearby Volcanoes have snow on them, will post a few photos. These volanoes range from 13,000 - 17,500 feet.

Also, a couple photos from the market yesterday. They sale EVERYTHING in the market; fruits, vegetables, meat, clothes, etc. etc. along with animals. I miss being able to purchase fresh each day food for the day!!

Posted by dypphelan 06:44 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

Day 3, part 2

overcast 60 °F

NOTE: I've attached photos on most blogs to provide brief descriptions, but additional photos and higher quality images of those found on the blogs also to the right under photos.

Decided to head out towards Zuleta, a region mostly inhabited by indigenous. Ibarra is at about 7,200 feet and Zuleta about 8,500. It’s about a one hour bus ride from Ibarra and has beautiful scenery.

This is quinoa, a grain that was considered food for the peasants until recently and now is sought out for its high nutritional value. Found along the Andes from Ecuador to Bolivia. We’ve had some excellent soups made with this along with ginger and lemon grass at the hosteria!!!!!

A roadside 'market' in the rurals.

We had made arrangements to meet up with a family we knew years ago. The brother is now an elder and his little girl is 16. Also has a 14 year old boy. Sadly, the daughter has bone cancer but the family is optimistic about current treatment. Talked for a while, ate a a Chifa (Chinese restaurant), then back to the house and watched “Cloudy with a change of meatballs 2” in Spanish. They invited us to stay and prepare the Watchtower so left about 10 p.m. A wonderful day!


Posted by dypphelan 18:24 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Day 4 - Old friends and lots of tears

rain 55 °F

Woke up to another beautiful day!!! We had plans to attend the meeting in San Gabriel where we had served in the past. Turns out the congregation now has a group where most of the brothers we know attend, so attended there in Bolivar about 20 minutes south and 1.5 hours north of Ibarra. This region is higher in altitude, about 9,000 feet. Zulete (the day before) is an hour west, San Gabriel is 1.5 hours north and runs through a dry section and then gets lush and green again.

Due to taxi/bus problems we arrived about ½ way through the WT but caused quite a commotion when we entered. It was very heartwarming to be received with such enthusiasm. About 25 publishers attend here with attendance about 45 and 92 at last memorial (in a room about 18’ x 35’.

A few of the friends.

After the meeting we were faced with two invitations, the first by the brothers in Bolivar who planned to have a gathering with most of those who knew us. However, another brother had also come down from San Gabriel and wanted us to go there. So agreed to stay in Bolivar and then head up to San Gabriel for round two later.

About 25 of us had a wonderful time in the home below. Poor families can purchase land and put in a foundation, then the govertment will finish the home. Small, but better than most had before.

I had most of the those in attendance say a few words, a separate post to follow with videos. Some touching and some funny!!

We had a VERY SAD farewell, lots of tears all around!!!!!

Posted by dypphelan 20:23 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Day 4 - Part 2

rain 50 °F

Headed to San Gabriel about 5 p.m. First stop was the KH where we used to attend (and sleep in on Saturday nights with our own private showed rigged up in one of the bathrooms. Before returning to the U.S. the brothers in my mothers congregation provided funds to complete the KH and have it dedicated and its still in great condition.

A few photos of San Gabriel.

We met a very dear friend, Ines Salazar and her husband. She was baptized shortly before we arrived to the congregation and was a super zealous pioneer, though her husband was not in the truth. His first contact with the brothers was a gathering we planned at their home for the whole congregation. It was thrilling to hear he’s now a ministerial servant and serves as regular pioneer also. He shows a lot of maturity for a brother only baptized for four years. The son we knew died in an accident, but they have two younger children now.

We had coffee and talked about old times. The brother then requested we accompany them to visit an isolated brother about 45 minutes away further up in the mountains at about 10,500 feet. The brother and his family were very excited for the visit. They live in a very humble home with block and cement floors and only a tarp for a roof. With the rain and cold of this altitude hard to imagine many don't suffer with respiratory illnesses as no heat; just a jacket....

Arrived back to San Gabriel about 9 p.m. and after waiting for 1.5 hours for a bus, they decided to take us back to Ibarra (a 1.5 hour trip each way). However, they had no gas. An hour later they had found two people willing to let the brother siphon off a gallon each and away we went. Back to Ibarra about 12:30 a.m. very tired but happy!!

Posted by dypphelan 20:23 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Day 4 - misc.


Evidently dinosaur remains found here so the following:

Posted by dypphelan 20:23 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

Day 5 - Going from Ibarra to Quito


Woke up with a terrible cold!!! Probably from being transported around in the back of a truck in the rain at 9,000 feet the day before. UGH!!
After doing some laundry and packing up we headed to Otavalo which has the largest market of indigenous crafts in the country and one of the largest in South America. We met up with many brothers there preparing for the first of the delegates who would be arriving on tours starting the following day. Below are photos from the market.
Paintings we purchased:
With blue door


Jumped on the bus to Quito about 3:30 to arrive before dark. Arrived about 6:30 p.m. to a warm reception at the hotel. They had prepared great welcome bags for us.

On a bad note, we realized we had been robbed when checking into our hotel. The bellhops had helped us out of the taxi with bags, etc. Patty is always careful to make a final pass to ensure all items out of taxi. However, once in the lobby to register we realized a tube with two paintings we had purchased in Otavalo was missing. We talked with all the bellhops but no one knew anything.... Oh well, what can you do.....

Posted by dypphelan 22:04 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Day 4 - Videos

Of friends in San Gabriel, Bolivar

rain 50 °F

Following are the promised videos of some of the brothers we served with years ago.

The first is Darwin Cuamacaus who you will see is very funny, but sincere:

Edgar Burbano, a dear brother who has suffered much since we left.

Ines Obando, has served as a regular pioneer now for more than 15 years.

Wendy. She was only 6 years old when we left and attended the bookstudy by herself. She lived a couples houses down and enjoyed the meetings and being with the brothers. She is now our sister.

Jessica. She moved up from Ibarra to assist the group in Bolivar since we left. However, she remembers us having her and her brothers to our home for a meal in Ibarra when she was a teenager.

This sister has studied and been baptized since we left. She has a pitch to make.....

Posted by dypphelan 21:12 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

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