Hi everyone, my name is Mursal Gardezi and I attend James Logan High School in Union City, California. Sitting here in the hostel I realize that Leon is not only the hottest city I have ever been to, it is also the most interesting and vibrant. I am so fortunate to be here and to be the leader of the day.
We started the day off at 7:15 with a wake up call and were out to breakfast at Quiero Mas less than 45 minutes later. We had the regular gallo pinto, tortilla, and a banana. Then we headed straight to our private bus, where we traveled approximately an hour and fifteen minutes to our surprise field trip to Cerro Negro (translation: black hill). Cerro Negro is an active volcano which we were to climb up and slide down with boards. Once we got all of our boards, goggles, and gloves, we drove to the base of the volcano and started our way up the volcano with the help of our two Red Cross volunteers, Marcos and Jose. It took us about an hour and a half to get up the volcano and thirty minutes to get back down.
Going up Cerro Negro was the ultimate challenge for some of the glimpsers and me. I have always been deathly scared of heights and so this was something I felt I had to face and accomplish. With the help and support of each other and our amazing Global Glimpse Leaders, we all made it up the volcano in one piece. Walking up Cerro Negro proved to be both a physical and psychological challenge. Once we all got up on the volcano, we took some amazing photos of the surroundings and got ready to go sandboarding down the other side of the volcano. Since every one of our glimpsers are warriors, we all sandboarded down the volcano successfully, with only a few battlescars as memory. Then we got back to the bus where we all got ready for another hour fifteen minute long trip.
Once we got back to the hostel, everyone took a shower, ate sandwiches and juice boxes, and got ready for their first free day without the Global Glimpse Leaders. As the leader of the day, one of my responsibilities was to make sure everyone was accounted for and in groups. Our groups did a lot with our time including basketball, getting ice cream, going souvenir shopping, getting braids in their hair, etc. There was one place that we all ended up in during our free time (the cyber café), which really goes to show you how much we miss our families and friends back in the States. I was so happy to see that all the groups made it in the hostel before 5:30 (end of our free time).
Later we went to dinner at Pizzeria Antonino. We had never been more grateful for a nice, warm slice of home. While we ate pizza, Kelly, one of our Global Glimpse leaders, accompanied one of the Glimpsers, Betty, to Sunday mass at the church.
Soon after, I had the privilege of running the nightly meeting, where we talked about the impacts tourism has on an area, what we did today, and what we plan to do tomorrow.
Personally, I was frightened of being leader of the day. I was worried about a billion little things like what if they don’t listen? What if they don’t wake up? What if someone gets lost? Etc. However, going through the day proved to be a lot easier when I took charge and played the role of a more omnipresent leader. It felt great to be the leader of a group of such amazing, responsible people. Today I felt like I took a giant step in overcoming my fear of heights and I am so blessed to have been able to get support from all of the glimpsers, who I feel I can truly call my second family.