Thought to End: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us”. -Albert Schweitzer


Journal by: Susan Weida

The mood at breakfast seemed subdued. I think we are all aware of how fast this amazing experience is coming to an end, trying to put it into the larger perspective of our everyday lives that will soon start up again.

We had a surprise of a new driver today, Fabian’s brother, who was very friendly and eager to work on his English with Kristina while driving. She quickly slipped into her teacher role.

On arrival in Calderon we went to our usual assignments and had busy mornings all. At 11:00 we gathered at Center #1 for the farewell ceremony. The tías had prepared all the classes except the babies to perform dances, songs, and a wonderful animal parade. I was especially proud of Tía Ruby’s class who did a rousing Spanish “Wheels on the Bus” that I taught them. The tías then performed lovely costumed dances from Otavalo and the coast and the event ended with everyone dancing. I was impressed with how engaged and well-behaved the children were and thought about how important it is for children to see adults having fun in positive ways.

We were each presented a handmade present and masapan children in costumes of various regions. Our “Mano en Mano” poster seemed to be truly appreciated. Kristina thoughtfully presented the tías and volunteers pictures of our interactions during the week.

Jessica and Steve stayed at Center #1 to thankfully assist with lunch, which, as we were running late, was per Kristina “like lunch on steroids.” Babies were dropping off to sleep in their high chairs. We enjoyed a relaxing lunch and returned to our respective centers for the afternoon.

Although the normal activities needed to continue the focus of the afternoon was on fond goodbyes. Kristina showed her pictures on the computer and was begged to download them on a flash drive for the center to keep.

We will certainly talk more at dinner (writing journal early due to Steve’s early departure), but I think we all have gained so much more knowledge, friendship, and feelings of love during this trip—much more than we have given. I know the faces of the children and kindness of the staff will be with me throughout my lifetime. I feel profound thanks to Global Volunteers for their thoughtful process to promote service, peace, and personal growth.

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