Quote of the Day: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain



We all have many reasons for coming on this trip: for choosing Ecuador over China, for choosing Global Volunteers over some travel agency for a tourist-like vacation; for wanting to work with small children rather than adults.

I chose to come to Ecuador through Global Volunteers for many reasons, but probably primarily because I felt I needed to step out of my life for a while, and see things from a different perspective. It’s easy to get stuck only seeing yourself and your own experiences.

I thought that coming to Ecuador would feel like I was being transported into another world, but really, Quito and the people I have seen and heard about aren’t very different than me as individuals. It seems that the politics and the economic state of our world divide us more than anything else.

Little Abel in Rincon Construcciones is just as mischievous as many boys that age in the preschool class my son Cainen was in. Naomi is just as quiet and shy as my daughter. Melanie, Aidan, Kerly, Wendy, and Jonathan all want love and attention like any child does.

And as Sarah told Andres in the car the other day on our way to the show: when asked how Ecuador is so different than the United States, I paused and couldn’t think of what to say. She said (maybe somewhat jokingly) “everyone here speaks Spanish.” Maybe that really is the biggest difference (at least for a white, English-only-speaking American)

I have felt the stress that sat in my chest from my problems with my job and family loosen over the past week, and I have been reminded that I need to count my blessings. I am reminded by hearing the stories of so many people and working with the children the past four days, that we have more in common than we sometimes think.

Edith told us this morning to recognize the times which we are happy, instead of always feeling that our happiness is in the future or incomplete. And to name those moments by simply saying “I am happy.” Two weeks ago I would not have been able to say that, but right now, I think I can honestly say- “I am happy.”

Written by Cara

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