During spring break of 2017, I went on a spring break mission trip to Tabacundo, Ecuador. Besides the mission work that our team did, we got a little break and got to explore and interact with the Ecuadorian culture. Ecuador is famous for being close to the sun, hence the name of the country “Ecuador”, which means Equator in Spanish. In one of the major cities, Quito, we got to go to latitude 00°00’00” at the the Intiñan Solar Museum.
The Intiñan Solar Museum is unique because of its location, and what they museum holds. One special thing about this museum is that it’s all outdoors. Occasionally we had to walk inside a hut for exhibition purposes, but the whole museum was outside, which exposed us to the culture, which I thought was very refreshing.
When our team first arrived there, we encountered a unique Ecuadorian dance that involved the audience. The man was dressed up in a costume I don’t think I could ever describe because of the various parts, and there was a little girl in colorful dress that danced with him. I loved this part of the the museum trip because we got to participate in a crowd dance with the man and little girl, and I think that hands on interaction is one of the best ways to learn, especially at a museum.
After the cultural dance, we waited for our tour guide to show us around all of the different sections of the museum. Some of the sections include huts, the amazonian rainforest tribes, and of course latitude 00°00’00” and all of the activities that go along with the equator.
My favorite was learning about the amazonian tribes and gaining a new perspective on a culture I had previously knew nothing about. We learned some of the things they practiced, how they slept and lived, what they used to hunt with, and some of the things they practice now.
“My favorite part about the equator museum was learning about the cultures of the tribes living in the Amazon Rain Forest. It influenced me to view life from a different perspective, as the exotic tribes do. They may have seemingly odd traditions, but overall they stick together as a community. That is something you don’t see here in the states.” said team member, Elizabeth Thompson on her favorite part about the museum.
Something totally different than what I am used to is that one of the tribes practiced recently until 50 years ago the shrinking of heads. They would shrink their enemies heads and sew up the mouth so that the evil spirit couldn’t come out. I find that practice fascinating, especially because most people from the states would find the shrinking of heads absurd, but to that tribe, it was completely normal.
I loved getting to learn about the daily life of the amazonian tribe people and overall gaining new insight on a culture I knew little about. The Intiñan Solar Museum was a pleasant, and fun dip into a whole ocean of culture.