DSC01327As our time in Ecuador is nearing the end, we reflect back on the goals we set on our first day here, two weeks ago. Today we accomplished all five of these goals: to help the people of Calderón, to have fun, to learn more about Ecuadorian culture, to improve our language skills, and to grow through new experiences and create meaningful relationships.

Today we helped the people of Calderón by providing English class for the tías. It’s awesome to see how hard the tías work, taking notes and practicing the pronunciations, while also enjoying themselves. Kay helped the people of Calderón by planting a garden outside the daycare center.

216The parents and people of Calderón now have a beautiful, finished mural to look at each day. Kirsten, Mia, Juliann, Sarah, and Tom had fun working on the mural. Which brings us to our next goal: to have fun! Eloise had fun playing with the babies on the playground. Sarah and Caitlin laughed when Tía Anita sent someone to scare them with a fake lizard. Tom had fun at his wild and crazy dance party and also enjoyed himself when he was playing catch with the kids and Kay. Lily had fund teaching the tías English this afternoon.

During the English lesson we were all able to enjoy a mango verde popsicle and we noticed the tías putting salt on theirs. We learned that that is very common in Ecuadorian culture and were all encouraged to try it. This ties into our third goal: to learn more about Ecuadorian culture.DSC_0255

Our fourth goal is to improve our language skills. Today Michael was able to communicate with his tía at a richer, deeper level than he had in the past. Katie read a book to her class while Tía Elizabeth helped her with her pronunciation.

Today Martin grew through a new experience, our fifth goal. After two weeks of struggling with Mia’s hair, Martin finally experienced the magical hair product known as conditioner, and he is a changed man because of it. On the second to last day, Laurie was finally able to crack the shell of Braulio and bond with him during a one-on-one reading session. She was able to create a meaningful relationship with him through love, kindness, and smiles. Each day, as we spend more time together, our relationships with the children, tías, and each other become stronger and stronger. In these two short weeks we have created such meaningful relationships that I know will be nearly impossible to let go of tomorrow. As we were finishing up the English lesson today, the tías were threatening to lock us in because they didn’t want us to leave. It was nice to know the feelings were mutual. We ended the day with dinner, a beautiful view, and our own private fireworks show, funded by Global Volunteers.90

Entry submitted by: Amelia

Message of the Day – Laurie: “We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” – Herman Melville 

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