Upon arrival to Tena, I was taken aback by the heat and humidity compared to Quito. I am happy to finally wear shorts and a tshirt, along with lots of bug spray. Taking cold showers are refreshing here, and I don’t mind the green frog that accompanies me as I do so. I have yet to spy any hairy tarantulas, but monkeys are as frequent as birds. I quickly learned not to hold items in my hands around the curious monkeys, as they enjoy snagging treats from you and carrying them away with their curly tails. There is less noise here, and there is one main square, which makes me feel like I am at home, living in a cozy small town. There are less cars, less buses, and many people walking down the highway roads headed to work. The mornings are early, and the stars at night are within reach. Most of all, though, my favorite part of living in the amazon is the rain.
The rain is not every day, but when it falls, it is best in the morning and night, pouring on the tin roofs of every building. The sound is mesmerizing, and I don’t mind being woken up by it at 5 a.m., and falling asleep to its lullaby at night. It is even more pleasing to lay on the hammock as the rain pours in front of me with a cool, refreshing breeze. When looking at the bridge outside the center, I notice the Napo river sneaking up closer and closer to the bridge. During clinic days, the rain sneaks through the cracks and holes of the old, wooden buildings. We have to push the tables and equipment to the middle of the room, which still cannot prevent the cool, misty atmosphere from spreading through the building. We yell over the rain to communicate, until we realize it is much more peaceful to embrace it and watch it take over the ground. My rain boots, “Made In Ecuador,” have provided vivacious opportunities to play with the children in the muddy, deep pools of rain on what are meant to be soccer fields. It amazes me that people travel from afar down the wet, muddy, gravel roads to visit our clinics, many without shoes, and often wait outside in the rain all day to see a doctor. As I lay in bed at night, I soak in the sound of the pattering rain, and reflect on the busy days, awaiting what the morning rain will bring the next day.