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Snapshot of Ecuador – Spanish is the official language of Ecuador, though Kichwa, Shuar, and other indigenous languages are recognized regional languages. About 80% of Ecuador’s population belongs to the Roman Catholic church, while about 1.4% belongs to the LDS church. Protestantism has been increasing as well. Family is very important to Ecuadorian culture, with elderly family members often living with their children. Traditional music styles such as pasillo, albazo, and bomba still enjoy some popularity. Festivals and celebrations are varied across the country, many of which mix Catholic and indigenous beliefs. Panama hats, which are brimmed straw hats, are a popular and unique clothing item. Ecuador has many regional rivalries, such as between Quito and Guayaquil, or the coast and sierra areas. Soccer is Ecuador’s most popular sport, though basketball and tennis are also somewhat popular. Lunch is the main meal in Ecuador, though cuisine varies between the coastal and mountain regions. Soup usually precedes the main course for most meals. Fish, beans, and plantains are typical along the coast, while meat (beef, pork, and even guinea pig), rice and hominy are more popular in the mountain regions. Seafood dishes such as shrimp and crab are popular along the coast. Hornado (roasted pig with potatoes) is a popular street food.
There are 12 stakes and districts located within the Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission. Guayaquil is also home to the Guayaquil Ecuador Temple, which was dedicated in 1999 and is located within the mission boundaries. There are also 2 Church Institutes, an Employment Resource Center, and a Bishop’s Storehouse located in Guayaquil. There is also an Employment Resource Center in Quevedo.
Like many other Latin American countries, rice is the staple food in Ecuador. Expect to eat rice and soup with most meals, as well as tropical fruits such as bananas and passion fruit (maracuya). Seafood dishes, such as encebollado (a fish stew) are also common. Fried plantains (referred to as either patacones or chifles) are popular snacks.
“Look out for Patacones and Chifles because you will like them. Also pan de yuca and maracuya! They have American restaurants in the city like McDonald’s and KFC, and definitely keep your filtered water bottle.” – Kelsey
Missionaries will generally get around by walking or by using public transportation. Buses and taxis are relatively cheap, and are the most common form of transportation used by missionaries when needing to travel longer distances.
“Don’t carry all of your money with you and avoid speaking english or else people will target you. Don’t wear fancy watches unless you want them to be stolen.” – Kelsey
“Chuzo” – dang it!
“Bacan/chevere” – cool!
“Ñaño” – brother (more informal/endearing term)
“Ñaña” – sister (more informal/endearing term)
“La plena” – seriously!
“Bring clothes/fabrics that aren’t super fragile and can be hand washed, since you will have to hand wash your clothes a lot of the time.” – Kelsey
“I wish I would have known to bring a good umbrella! Rainy season is crazy and has lots of flooding so a waterproof jacket and rain boots would have been nice” – Kenna
The Malecón 2000 is a popular tourist destination. The lengthy riverfront boardwalk passes by several historical sites and is also home to a botanical park, multiple museums, and several restaurants and shops.
The Mercado Artesenal is a popular location to buy soccer jerseys and other souvenirs. The city is also home to several other parks and tourist sites.
Casilla de Correo 16160
Facebook Group – “Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Norte”
What items were hard to get or not available?
“You can’t legally ship shoes to Ecuador, so you should pack them, (the quality of shoes sold there isn’t the best). For girls they don’t really have feminine products. Bug repellent sold there doesn’t contain deet which is the effective part of the repellent, so bring bug repellent from the U.S.” – Kelsey
What did you eat the most of?
“Rice. Lots and Lots of rice. You eat a lot of rice and soup every day! Also chicken, fish, and every imaginable way to eat a banana.” – Kelsey
What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Cow udder (chopped up in a soup), chicken foot, or cow stomach.” – Kelsey
What was the most surprising thing about the culture?
“You cant flush toilet paper, you have to throw it away was something you had to get used to.”
What advice would you give to someone going to the Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission?
“Bring the things you like – bug spray, sunscreen, a good umbrella and rain jacket. If you wear contacts I would just stick with glasses because a lot of people had problems with eye infection (or you could buy the clean and clear disinfecting solution that converts from hydrogen peroxide to distilled water)” – Kelsey
What do you wish you had known before you served?
“I wish I’d already known Spanish and how to hand wash clothes” – Kelsey
Did you serve in the Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission? If so we want to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your unique experiences!