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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 9 stakes and districts located within the Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission. There is also a temple located in Guayaquil, however, it lies outside the mission boundaries. There is a Church Institute and an Employment Resource Center located in Machala.
Missionaries can expect to eat rice and soup dishes with most meals while serving in the Ecuador. Pan de yuca, beans, and tropical fruits such as bananas and passion fruit are also common. Fried plantains (chifles and patacones) and hornado (roasted pig) are popular street vendor items. Some American fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s are also present in the larger cities.
Missionaries generally get around in their areas either by walking or by using public transportation. Both buses and taxis are relatively cheap and can be used when needing to travel quicker or for a greater distance.
Missionaries should avoid giving the impression of being tourists or being wealthy, as this makes you more likely to be targeted by thieves. Thieves often target people who appear disoriented or out of place when traveling by bus. Be aware of your surroundings!
“Chuzo” – dang it!
“Bacan/chevere” – cool!
“Ñaño” – brother (more informal/endearing term)
“Ñaña” – sister (more informal/endearing term)
“La plena” – seriously!
Bring clothes that are hand washable, as there is a good chance you will need to wash your clothes by hand while serving in Ecuador! It’s also a good idea to pack extra shoes, as the shoes sold in Ecuador are generally lower quality.
Guayaquil is home to many interesting historic sites and parks that are spread throughout the city, such as the Lago Parque Forestal located within the boundaries of the Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission.
The city of Cuenca is home to an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Historic Centre of Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca. The area is home to several historic religious sites. Cajas National Park is also located in the region.
Facebook Group – Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission – https://www.facebook.com/groups/2245844599/
Straight from the Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission field:
What items were hard to get or not available?
“Most things were available but were not from the US and if they were not of the same quality”
What did you eat the most of?
“Rice, beans, soup, yuca, chicken”
What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Pigs head, Kina (weird seafood)”
What was most surprising about the culture?
“No one spoke English, and living conditions were very poor.”
“Keep an open mind, just because it’s not what you do our how you were raised it is part of who they are and in most cases you are the guest. Ultimately… BE OBEDIENT!”
What advice would you give to someone going to the Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission mission?
“What I didn’t know I learned and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything!”
**Did you serve in the Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission? If so we want to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your unique experiences!**