Arriving in Mera and My First Day at Merazonia — A Travel Tale

Imagine zooming along winding mountain roads in a rickety old bus, listening to Bedouin Soundclash, chilling, feasting your eyes, insatiable.

Imagine chatting away with an amicable Ecuadorian who points out sights: a famous waterfall, a deep ravine, a bridge off which to bungee jump, a good discoteca, his own restaurant…

View of a city nestled in a valley, mountains in the backdrop and the shoulder of the highway visible in the foreground, depicting that the road is high up on a mountain above the city.
Seen from the bus somewhere between Quito and Mera

Imagine being dropped off the bus in an unknown town without any address and being guided by friendly locals.

Imagine that across the street from your destination, a middle-aged woman and an elderly neighbour shout at you that no one is home, taking it upon themselves to walk with you to your hosts’ employee’s home, only to find out that Guido is in Puyo…

Turns out that Frank and Jennifer were indeed home, had arrived without attracting the attention of their prying neighbour.

When she saw them, she shouted at them from across the street and Frank obligingly came to fetch me.

This house in Mera is where you spend your first day at Merazonia.
Merazonia‘s temporary volunteer house in Mera

When I got to the house, I was pleased to see that another volunteer, David, had also just arrived.

Early to bed and early to rise, ready for a long day’s work.

After a ten- to fifteen-minute truck ride, we arrived at the mouth of the one-kilometre trail made of uneven, mossy rocks, slippery wooden boards, and sticky mud holes which would bring us to the animal rescue centre.

We built this bridge on my first day at Merazonia.
Natural sources, water system, and new bridge!

Jen and I spent part of my first day at Merazonia sawing logs to make a bridge near the centre’s water system.

We searched for wood, we hauled, we hacked, we shovelled sand and rocks to spread over the bridge, we drove stakes into the ground to brace the completed bridge.

I think I’m gonna be sore tomorrow!

Volunteers napping in Merazonia's unfinished volunteer house, lying on the floor or in hammocks.
Lunchtime naps, different day…

Lunch was quiet and peaceful, spent on the rocky shores of the gushing Rio Tigre, even more scenic because of a covered wooden bridge.

Simple; only sandwiches, fruit and veggies, but completely satisfying, like the day’s work.