Un Rio

Heather Kurtz - Ecuador


October 19, 2011

While in Atacapi, my community, I have discovered many things. There is one that really made me think. This was the river. I never knew all the things that a river can be.  Most of you know I have a passion for white-water kayaking. I am constantly watching the river levels to see when I can go down them or driving down the road I look to see what fun I could have on the river.  Well Ecuador is no different. As soon as I saw the whitewater I was dying to go on it. I have to be careful, but nothing has stopped me from watching the rivers.  I have found that the levels of the Tena River change all the time. I have found a path down for almost every level. Now I just need my boat.

While I have been looking for the fun I can have on this river, my mom has been doing the laundry, and my siblings have been bathing. A river is for more than just for kayaking or getting water from when you are hiking. Yes, it really is. To my family the river is a source of drinking water, a bathtub, a washing machine, a playground, and so many other things. We have a house from the river to my house to get water to drink and do the dishes. Then every morning after my run I go to theriver to shower. The water is ice cold but feels so good. (I am the only person who showers in the morning.) Then in themiddle of the day or after work you find most people having a quick cool downin the river. The kids are often swimming, and the parents are doing laundry or something. But most people go to the river. It is a COOL place to chill.

Everyone in the village goes to the river on the weekends to do laundry. Each family has a couple of rocks and they start scrubbing. They use the rocks like wash boards. The laundry detergent is a bar that they scrub on their cloths.  Then they rub the cloths on the rock over and over. It is so labor intensive. The first time I did my laundry I was so tiered and sunburnt. (I forgot sun screen and I was out there for at least an hour. Then after scrubbing with all the soap, they raise the cloths and fling them agents rocks.  This it to get as much water out of them as possible so they will dry on the cloths line. (What did you think they had a dryer?)

Oh my, I never knew all the things a river is. Now when I go to the river I not only look for the path down but where a good spot to play is, and where I should shower, and most importantly where the good rocks for wash are. My perspective of a river has grown so much. The next time I go whitewater kayaking I may want to stop so I can do my laundry, just to let you know.

Heather Kurtz