Catherine DeVarenne: Trip to Ecuador
by Alexis Martinez
Catherine Devarenne, Adv. 805, may have experienced one of the most interesting trips during the summer of 2017. She and ten other students from across the country met in a Miami airport, from where they then flew to Ecuador. Instead of staying at a fancy hotel, the group stayed at different hostels and had to move to different places throughout the trip. DeVarenne described the people of Ecuador as friendly and kind, and they were excited to educate her group about their culture. Not only did they want to educate the students, but they also wanted to make sure they had a fun trip. The natives did this by adding activities that were heartwarming and breathtaking. DeVarenne said, “Everyone was super nice. There was a language barrier, but that was about it.”
One week of the trip was spent in the Amazon Rainforest, where they would go on hikes and learn about the culture and greenery around them. DeVarenne and her group of students were amazed by the scenery and made sure to capture the sights with breathtaking pictures. It was definitely something that kept everyone off their phones and focused on what was around them. There were also daylong hikes where the group would visit waterfalls and go rafting in the waters. One day, they had a medicinal plant hike where they learned that squishing ants on one’s body acts as a natural mosquito repellent. DeVarenne’s favorite spot was the hot spring because it was a community gathering place. Given its small size, the variety of landscapes the country offers is impressive. Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest is packed with wildlife.
During her time there, DeVarenne learned a lot about the crops the natives grow and how they grow them. Everything is natural, as they avoid using any chemicals. She learned that if they plant or harvest at a wrong moon phase (or miss one), they must give up something in their daily lives.
DeVarenne very much enjoyed her educational trip and recommends it to others.