Today we started out our day with a great speaker named Aquiles a youth activist from Riobamba. He gave us a little background on Riobamba. One of the things that stuck with me was he said that Riobamba was known as the city of rebellion which I found interesting because it’s a pretty calm city and all the people here are affectionate and so welcoming. He then led a great activity in Parque Maldonado where he talked about how eye contact with people makes you feel more connected when you talk to them. He had us stare into the eyes of another person in our group for more than a minute to experience what that feels like. He then asked us to go up to a stranger and make eye contact with them and ask them what Riobamba meant to them. We all got a variety of different answers. It was a little hard for me at first just because I am a shy person but I really enjoyed it in the end. It was inspiring to feel that connection with a person.
We then went to the city hall in which we had a speaker of the name Roy Mejia. He gave us a little background of some historic events that have happened in the building. For example, we learned that the Ecuadorian Constitution was first signed in Riobamba and that the country’s first public transportation and radio was also started in Riobamba. He showed us this room named Pedro Vicente Maldonado in which the mayor and other important people met and discussed important issues. It was a pretty cool place and he gave us some bracelets as a little gift.
The last place we went to was La Casa Indigena. We had two wonderful speakers named Paulina and Lupe. Paulina gave us a little background about La Casa Indigena and what services it provided (for example, they take indigenous immigrants that work in the street and provide them a place to sleep). They also use the space for religious work. Paulina explained the four commandments of the Quechua people which are don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t be lazy and have a big heart. Lupe then joined us and talked to us about her childhood and how things were when she was young. She talked about how the indigenous people in the past were treated unfairly and were seen as animals and property. Lupe talked about the founder of La Casa Indigena-Leonidas Proano- who was also known as the one to give rights to the indigenous people of the community. Lupe had a lot to say and a lot of things were so inspiring. One quote that I think really stood out to us was ” There’s no one so poor that has nothing to give and no one so rich that has nothing they can receive”. She was great lady and so affectionate: she asked to give us all hugs at the end.
The last surprise of the day was that we arranged to watch the soccer game Ecuador vs. México during our free time and we had a few snacks and everyone was really into it. It was just an overall great bonding experience for all of us.
We had a great day today and I think we all learned a lot. I know others felt really inspired by everyone’s speeches and had truly a life changing day.
Hey Dad, I watch the game today and I rooted for Ecuador because all the good players on the Mexico team left. Today was really fun and we were greeted by so many people. I’ll call you on my free time some day. – Christian
Hi Mom and Dad! Things are going great here, absolutely loved watching the soccer game today! Hope things are going great! Miss you guys! Love, Marcus
To Alondra: I’m glad you’re having so much fun at work! Also I keep forgetting to tell you, but the insect repellant/lotion/waterproof/sunscreen is just about the coolest thing in the world. Tell your mom I said Thank you so much! I really miss you and am really looking forward to talking to you again. I love you!
To my family: I’m really starting to hanker for Indian food and pasta night. It’s not that the food is bad, it’s just the cilantro reminds me of cathmil? , and it’s all downhill from there. I hope to speak with you soon. Love You Guys!- Arjun
HI 🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading my blog! Today we visited city hall and ate a lot of good food.- Sandhya
Hi Family, I talked to some of the locals today, and gained their opinions on Riobamba. I learned how proud they are to be here. I also met a lady named Lupe, she inspired me when she said her dream was to be free and live free. So yah, can’t wait to tell you all about it!- Abbie
To Helena’s family and friends: During our free time today, we watched the Ecuador-Mexico game and I actually understood what was going on! Oh, and we played soccer afterward and I SCORED A GOAL! AGAINST THE BEST GOALIE HERE. SO PROUD RIGHT NOW. I felt a little homesick today though- I love you and miss you all so much! Talk to you soon! – Laynie