Rise ↑ (Part I: Otavalo, Ecuador)

My identity is a piece of swiss cheese, which is probably why I absorb knowledge of my history like a dry sponge takes water. I can only go back 2 generations of names of blood relatives, which is frustrating because it’s a fact that I have very little control over. I’ve taken the Ancestry.com test, which just made things more confusing for me. I know that in Christ I ultimately find my identity, but I’ve always wanted to explore the stories that led to the human that I am today.

As a young girl, I tried to fill the gaps of my family history with over exaggerated stories, as an attempt to make my identity seem more complete, different than the average person that looked like me. But as I’ve grown into this 28 year old woman, I have also learned to embrace that my story is just one of many open-ended puzzle pieces. This shared history of missing parts and blurred lines is exactly who I am and who I was created to be.

This week, our cohort took a trip to Otavalo, an Ecuadorian Indigenous community where we learned of their fight to keep their culture intact through the history of conquest, colonialism, and current development. We engaged in a local ritual that consisted of burning palo santo, an offering of fruits, and prayers of blessing to mother nature. It was beautiful and a very moving experience. As I lifted my hands at the instruction of the Shaman, I looked at the beauty of Cascadas de Peguche and worshipped my Creator God because I truly believe that nature declares his handiwork, and the beauty of the Sierra Region of Ecuador has taken my breath away.

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