One of our favorite people in Ecuador is Rodrigo (above). He is a leader in his indigenous Quechua community. And he's dedicated much of his time and life to continuing traditions among the Quechua people.
Rodrigo speaks English perfectly, so he's been able to work as a local guide for many English speaking people. We've been fortunate to be able to see Rodrigo a few times a year, as he works as our guide at Body+Soul Camp.
For the last retreat, he picked Danny and I up at the airport, which is always a treat as we get to chat with him for the next 1.5 hours until we make it to the lodge and hear about all his latest endeavors and local happenings. Though this time, he asked us if we wanted to go have "fritada" with his family. It turns out we didn't exactly know what it meant to have "fritada." But we were SO touched by this unbelievably kind invitation!
We drove many miles up higher in the mountains to the home where Rodrigo grew up. His mother still lives there.
We walked into the kitchen and saw this...a full blown fire next to the kitchen sink. And corn drying overhead.
The women were working away and chopped meat and cooked food for hours in HUGE caldrons on the fire. All the women were in skirts. The dogs watched every move.
(Danny played wooden tops with the kids, a super popular game here.)
Abuelita stirred the pot with a stick. (Check out the strength of her arms.)
And she chopped meat with a machete. Even the dog was standing back.
(I was holding the camera just behind her, dodging flying bits.)
Everyone there was sooo enjoying eating the freshly cooked rolls of pig skin.
These doggies sure wanted some, too...
This guy could wrap the top with string in seconds.
Mote is one of the favorite dishes among Ecuadorians. This mote was likely retrieved from the dried corn hanging above.
After all of the family and guests were served in the living room, the Abuelitas finally sat down in the kitchen to eat their meal. I stayed with them as it was so cozy next to the fire.
I took a picture of one of the main cooks and then she said, wait, wait...
Apron off. Indigenous clothing and gorgeous hair piece now featured.
I noticed some of the doggies had some blood on them. And then I looked up...
We're deeply grateful to Rodrigo and his family for sharing this tradition with us. They prepare a big fried pork meal like this for special occasions. And it was, indeed, so special for us. It was actually one of the most authentic Ecuadorian experiences we've had to date.
P.S. If you ever need a guide in Ecuador, absolutely email Rodrigo Flores. He can be your driver and guide in the Otavalo / Cotacachi / Peguche / Intag area.