Welcome to Temuco! This is a beautiful city located right between the Araucanían mountains and the pacific ocean. Nothing much is special about the city itself, but the people and the surrounding are just incredible!
Our first day in Temuco was a bit of a beautiful disaster. Our group was split up and thrown in front of two separate school assemblies and told to kind of perform! With nothing prepared it was a little bit crazy, but at lunch time we are able to get a few things organized and start a impromptu skit. it worked really well and the kids loved it, so that was a real big win for us. Unfortunately it was bit of stressful day and emotions came out that night, but our team pulled through and came out smiling again. The next 2 days went much better and the kids had a blast, learning lots and smiling tons.
Wednesday was our off day so we decided to hit up the town. we wandered around the streets eating food and seeing sights. Enjoying the graffiti covering the building and laughing in eachothers company. We ate at this empanada bakery and had the most delicious empanadas i've ever tried! Filled with steak, onions and egg it just melted in your mouth. from there we went to the regional museum (shown above), kinda hoping for something really special, but were a little let down when we got inside. half of the building was empty and there was nothing in english for us to read, but we still had a laugh trying to figure out what the tools were and imagining where everything came from.
After the museum we made our way the feria (Marketplace) and wandered around the fruit stands smelling the delicious food that was all around us. during this time Julia and I decided to hike up the national park that is right next to Temuco. So the rest of the group went back to the base and we stayed in town wandering around a bit, grabbing some ice cream and then started hiking up to the viewpoint.
Getting to the viewpoint was actually really quite a challenge, the park was not signed well at all and the paths were very small, so we actually ended up missing all the viewpoints on the way up. We skipped all the tourist spots and accidentally made it to the top of the mountain instead, but luckily we took a different route on the way down and 1 by 1 we hit each of the viewpoints. To add to that yet, we got to each spot right at sunset so we got to watch the colours disappear into the night. We then stayed even later so we could watch the stars up on this mountain with these strange monuments looking over us. (Top Photo)
On Friday morning we were all relieved to find out that we kind of had the morning off. We got to rest for a while longer before practising our skit and working on smaller group projects. It all went by quickly and it was kind of nice to just relax a little bit before heading off to a church to perform a bit.
We arrived at the church, which was almost an hour away, and as soon as we all sat down they started the service. The church itself was tiny and had maybe 40 people inside but it was homey enough. The service was beautiful, full of dances and songs, creating a lovely atmosphere for us, but before we knew it we were thrown up front again and got to introduce ourselves, alongside with what we do. After the introductions we acted out our skit for them and it became a real big hit, everyone loved it and the whole church was moved. Moved enough that each person wanted to be prayed over by one of us. It was a really powerful moment with lots of tears and smiles. certainly a time I wont be forgetting soon.
Saturday was the most interesting day yet. We were told in the morning that we would be going to a neighbouring city and helping out with some practical work. This practical work turned out to be digging the base for a part of a church. It wasn't the greatest work, but we got to use pick axes which helped with moral...
After about an hour of this work we were interrupted...
A fire had started on the other side of this house that was near the church. It didn't seem so bad at first, most of us kinda just looking in shock, but then the wind picked up and the fire raged right towards the house. We fought it as best we could with the few things we had, but it didn't seem like there was any chance of the house making it out.
People started flooding in to help fight the fire and luckily the wind shifted again so it wasn't blowing directly at the house. It was a miracle and an incredible shock.
As soon as the house was safe and the fire fighters arrived we all rushed towards the field were the fire was still going strong.
Within an hour, only an hour, the fire was almost out and people were starting to relax. It was absolute craziness and I still can't believe how quickly the event happened. We still don't know what started the fire or why we were so lucky with the circumstances, but it certainly felt like we had a guardian angel that day keeping everyone safe.
Easter Sunday was so good, we woke to have one of our leaders having set up a little treasure hunt for us to find some Easter chocolate. It was such a wonderful gesture and really helped make the morning a lot more homie for us! Afterwards we went back to the place were the fire happened and attended the church we were helping to expand. The service was the best one i had been to in a long long time. The worship was incredible and the speaker was insane! Yelling at us and screaming different things that you could only barely make out with the translator, but the message got across and we all loved it. Right after the service we were blessed with an incredible seafood soup filled with special Chilean clams... it was so incredible i honestly felt like I was going to explode after eating all the food they served!
From the church we all hoped in a van and drove to the top of Cerro Neilol and the viewpoints that we were at on Wednesday. It was great to get back there with the whole group and see the area in bright daylight. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera for this excursion so I have no photos to show, but you can just imagine standing in a giant wood tower above a bamboo jungle that slowly changes into a giant city. That'll get you pretty close to what we saw ;)
Anyways I don't think I have much more to say on this post so i'll just leave ya with a photo of the aftermath from the fire in the field! Love you all and hope you had a wonderful Easter Holiday!