Rim gets lost in the heart of the Ecuadorian jungles

The sunlight faded and darkness soon followed. I went ahead of the group, confident that I knew where I was going, but I didn’t.

I was by myself, lost in the heart of the Ecuadorian jungles.

I wasn’t that worried though. I was calm, collected because from the information that I gathered from watching Les Stroud on Survivorman almost every night. I had learned that panicking in these situations can be life-threatening. So I stayed put, exactly where I was, and I waited.

The darkness wasn’t even that scary, and the heat wasn’t all that unbearable. The bugs, however, were beyond terrifying. It may sound a little biased coming from an insectophob, and maybe even a little exaggerated, but I swear every bug I saw in the night was as big as my foot.

After quite some time dodging the enormous critters and waiting for my rescue, the group, which was my church youth group, my pastor, and a few natives to the land, finally found me.

This was our mission’s trip. Normally traveling within the nation’s borders, our church group decided to further diversify our experiences.

 InEcuador, my youth group and I would attempt to spread the Word of God to the numerous nearby villages located on the outskirts of the nation’s capital,Quito. It was my first time doing anything like this, and I was amped, which is probably why I got lost in the first place.

Finally reunited with the others, I trudged along slowly listening but not really listening to my youth group leader scold me for my clumsiness. The chastising went on for the entire hike.

We reached a village in the middle of the jungle, our destination from the get-go, and took shelter inside one of the huts.

Curious as to who we were and why we were there, the villagers gathered around us. My pastor began to speak in English while one of the natives that was with us did his best at translating it. I could tell that the message was getting across from the accepting nods and smiling faces.

We brought with us a medical kit and offered to give a physical check-up to anyone that may have needed it. To my surprise, only a few people wanted one, and in their case, it was needed.

One man had an infection cultivating on the surface of his foot, eating away at the superficial layer of skin. It was gross. We didn’t have the utensils needed for proper treatment so instead we offered antibiotics and gauze-wrap for the infected area. He still seemed very grateful, and they all looked at us as if we were angels or saints of some kind.

It was then that I understood why people do these trips, why people do soup kitchens, why people help. It’s not for credentials or for karmic compromise. It’s not for selfish recognition. It’s for being someone’s angel, even just for one day.