Hello everyone! This is your GGL’s Carlos, Brendan, and Brittney.
Today, we had a very impactful day in our home away from home. We started off our morning bright and early with a simple and traditional breakfast (bread and pineapple/blueberry jelly, an egg, and another delicious papaya juice) at our food provider Feroz (“fierce”). With that fuel and nourishment, we embarked on our first Guaranda city tour where we visited some local sights and learned about the history, culture, and developments of this region and continent. One important historical figure whose name we heard often was Simon Bolivar, a Venezuelan who helped liberate Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Panama, Colombia, and Bolivia (hence the name). Our Program Coordinator’s followed up the historical background with a more current tradition by taking us next to the Mercado Central. Each group one was given one US dollar (Ecuador has utilized the US dollar since 2000) to purchase a fruit or vegetable that they have never seen before. The groups came back with babaco, achotillos, uvillas, tunas, tomate del arbol, along with sweet bananas and oranges not found back home. Between the market and our hotel, the GU2A team befriended a stray dog that we naturally named Pedro; he followed us for nearly an hour like a local spirit guide. The tour then concluded at the busy Plaza Roja; it is named after the red tiles and red panchos that the Indigenous people wear when they are gathering, as well as for the color of communism and socialism, an important element in Ecuador’s history.
We worked up quite an appetite on the walk so our fried fish plate at Feroz tasted as good as it smelled. All the meals so far have all been to the liking of the group, and nearly every plate has been left clean! After our lunch, the group returned to our accommodations to learn about our English tutoring groups and to prepare for our lessons starting on Monday. We observed some initial hesitation in some students but mostly a lot of excitement. We fully anticipate their success after observing their compassion for each other throughout this trip, in addition to their inspiring courage in trying new things (the variety of food included). In true Three C’s fashion, they have displayed a deep commitment to this trip, experience, and immersion in a new environment! We couldn’t be happier with the connections that everyone is making. Post dinner, the Glimpsers found some quiet spaces around the hotel to get to know each other a little bit better by sharing each of their own personal stories and reflections. It was a quiet but resonating moment for everyone. It continued into our nightly meeting as we discussed the similarities between Ecuadorian history and U.S. history, and even Bay Area culture vs. Guarandan. The whole day and night brought us closer together and to our host city/country.
As we write this blog, we are happy to say that all of the Glimpsers are downstairs with their second self-initiated team building game of the day, eschewing their hard-earned, personal free time for a full group experience. The hotel is full of laughter and positivity.
Jeremy & Vi are tomorrow’s Liders del Dia. They amusingly demonstrated their unique talents in order to “earn the torch” (the symbolic item that the Leaders carry each day – a red pancho). They set a pretty high bar as leaders of the day during the second half of our nightly meeting with good jokes, drawings of Pedro, and some great Big Love shout outs!
In that mindset, the Global Glimpse Leaders definitely want to send Big Love to all of our Glimpsers’ friends, families, neighbors, and gardeners (if you were at the airport drop-off with us, you get it) – you have raised some incredibly strong, brave, and caring young people. Despite a few difficulties adjusting to the climate and altitude, the first three days are an indication that we are in for an amazing trip. Which leads to one more Big Love shout out for Camilo and Stephanie; they have worked extremely hard planning a full itinerary that is quickly filling our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits. After some rest tonight, we can’t wait to see what the next days will reveal.
Carlos, Brendan, and Brittney