After having been on the road for quite some time now, we started to feel like doing a volunteering for a longer period of time, like a month, unpack the backpacks and not pack them again in 2-3 days, bur rather have our staff outside for a while.
So we started to look for the right place and found a house in a little fishing village called Mompiche. No food was provided, but according to the profile, some weekly basic staples were to be given to us, though this didn’t happen.
The idea was to help out building a cabin and taking care of the house with the general maintenance.
A nice surprise were the 2 dogs we found in the house, Tagua and Cacao. Amazing animals, we really miss them!
The house was pretty damn amazing, Sol, the owner, was the one that designed it and built it. It took him many years cause he had some other businesses to attend, but still, the result was incredible.
We had our own room and access to a little balcony with great views and a hammock to crash and rest, so the place was really really nice.
So we helped out with the construction, uprooting and moving trees, cleaning the house, walking the dogs, removing bamboo roots with a rock bar, (this was crazy hard!), and some other stuff. We learnt to use new tools and few construction tips from Matan, an Israeli guy that joined the house to help building the cabin.
We also had our own little outdoor gas kitchen where to cook and rest. In Mompiche, you can buy half kilo of shrimps for 3$ and cook a delicious rice with shrimps and veggies. It’s what people here say, that the poor here eat like a king somewhere else in the world.
If you happen to be in the Ecuadorian coast, don’t miss to try the dish called Encebollado. It’s an amazing soup with veggies and fish in it that if you are not incredibly hungry will do the job as a whole meal. Really really tasty. Sol’s mother in law had a little restaurant where he said it was a great encebollado, and true that, it was delicious!
His grandma in law was also famous in town for her cooking abilities, but this time for making the best muchin in town. Muchin looks like long “sausage” that’s wrapped up with the banana leave, and made with banana, flour and filled with cheese. I could die eating this stuff cause it was just too freaking tasty.
Every morning I would wake up and go to the ocean around 7:30 am, when the fishermen come back and you can buy directly from them the fish you’d like. You could buy a halibut for 0.50$, so yes, we did eat a looooot of halibut, but it was so good! Lobster at 4$ half kilo, huge crabs, balloon fish everywhere laying at the sand, apparently it was no good for sale, and a thing that struck me the most was that here sardines are used as bait for the fish! In Spain a good fresh sardine comes with quite a price and it’s one of the people’s favorite fish, among which I find myself, and here I almost had to beg one guy to sell me one. He finally gave me a couple for free, cause for them these are crappy fish, amazing.
Thanks to Matan, Kasia got to try for the first time to walk on the slack line, a tricky one, but we both finally managed to make it from one end till the other.
Mompiche is known for being a great surfing spot, so we couldn’t miss the opportunity to give it a try and go catch some waves. We rented a board from our host and Kasia also took a class with our host.
Funny thing to do this surfing, we both managed to stand up and even stir a bit the board, so mission accomplished!
Nearby Mompiche Sol told us there was a nice path following a river up that ended in a tiny but beautiful waterfall. It sounded like a nice walk so we put on the rubber boots Sol borrowed us and started our way. The place was really nice and we got to see that little lizard that walks on water, actually running from one riverside to the other. It ran with its legs so open in a really funny way. Pity I couldn’t catch it on camera. Sol told us to take a machete, as maybe some really not welcomed snakes could make an appearance in our path. It’s kind of a nice psychological feeling of safety to carry around a big machete, but if things were to get down to facing a big snake I think I’d rather faint or run like crazy but in any of my mental hypothesis I would actually face the snake blazing the machete in front of it and somehow killing it, no way, that wouldn’t happen. But as long as no snake would appear, we could pretend that this heroic reaction would be the one we’d follow.
Close by from Mompiche, around 40 min walking or much less if you’d take a moto taxi, you can find a really pretty island. It’s defined as an island by maybe 50 meters that separates it from the land, but still, an island it is, called Portete. You have to pay 0.5$ for a boat to take you to the island, cause maybe the distance is not much, but the underwater current is pretty damn strong, so I wouldn’t recommend going for a swim.
The beach in Portete is simply astonishing, huge as no other it felt great to go there for a walk and to enjoy the warm water.
We also closed our first 5$ selling the bracelets Kasia produces, so we have really good memories from this place.
It was almost a month we spent in Mompiche, where we got to use new tools, build nice things, learnt some very useful construction tricks, saw amazing places, surfed, had a great time with a couple of amazing dogs, ate really good food and basically had a nice break from the road, from which we’d still be away from as from here we were heading to Canoa for another long volunteering, this time rebuilding houses for those who lost theirs during the earthquake.