Day One in Quito for Team #140

Team 140 to Ecuador gathered for breakfast at 9-ish in the charming dining room of Hotel Sol de Quito. Fresh fruit, croissants, eggs, blackberry juice – delicious.

Orientation commenced with hellos and a “getting to know you” session. We are a team that’s small in number – 4 – but big in energy, dedication, and talent.

* Bob, the engineer, (my hubby) whose worst-ever job was picking strawberries and whose best job is his current consulting work.

* Charlie, age 13, a sports enthusiast who is discovering a new interest in math and who enjoys phy ed and his involvement in a community service club in his hometown (Woodside) near San Francisco.

* Mary (Charlie’s mom) is a dedicated teacher and homemaker who shared her journey from college to family with four kids with stops along the way in Australia and Switzerland. We later enjoyed hearing about her “horseback” journeys in South Africa and India. Wow! She’s also done the GV Peru program with one of her daughters. It’s a family tradition to take each child on a volunteer experience when he/she turns 13!

* I shared my background with newspaper work, GV, our terrific kid, and more!

This was followed by reviews of Global Volunteers’ policy – health and safety issues and a pleasant visit with Elvita, Pilar, and Marujita, representatives of FUNDAC, our host organization, who described the work projects, the community of Calderón, and more.

Then we commenced to team goals and team-building exercises. Our goals include: learning about the culture, land, and people; serving the people and making a difference; and improving our Spanish.

We decided on the following Characteristics of an Effective Team:

1. Not giving up and always trying hard in what we do
2. Not complaining – having a positive attitude
3. Respecting teammates’ needs and wants
4. Communication
5. Tolerance and respecting the local culture
6. Diligence
7. Working together well with the team and the local people
8. Sense of humor
9. Perseverance
10. Having fun and enjoying ourselves
11. Engagement – “being present” in the moment
12. Flexibility
13. Sharing a common vision and goals

Martín Miranda visited us after lunch (chicken, rice, salad, soup – good!). He described possible free-time activities for our short week and he also assisted with a basic language session.

We wound up orientation around 3:30 p.m. or so and Martin kindly agreed to take us to Parque Carolina and the Reptile House. There we saw awesome snakes, turtles, frogs, and iguanas. Charlie stuck his neck out and wore a “cobra scarf.” Brave guy!

Then we went to the park’s botanical garden. Lovely! I was so impressed with the lush foliage, the meandering stream with paddle boats, the gardens, and more in this wonderful park!

Later we walked to El Jardín Mall, a very sophisticated mall filled to the brim with families. Then back in the hotel, our dinner was delicious – flank steak, chicken cilantro soup, rice, and veggies – all finished off with custard for dessert. Good company, good conversation, good night!

Signed – Team Leader Barb

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