Greetings from Riobamba!
Our focus of today’s activities was on aid and how that can affect the countries who both receive the aid and grant it. We started out our morning with a good debate on whether or not foreign aid should be granted. There were many varying opinions and it was a very insightful conversation. We all learned a lot from each other and from the facts that we were given.
After the seminar and debate on foreign aid we were scheduled to have a guest speaker on the topic, but sadly he cancelled. Instead we did a reflection activity to write about how the first half of our trip has gone. After half an hour of journalling and reflection we got on the bus to drive to El Batan, a small farm just outside of the city. The farm is owned by the cousin of the chef (Isabel) at Roma Santa where we eat dinner and lunch nearly daily and it is fully organic and sustainable. While there all of us had a chance to plant lettuce, pick lettuce, and learn about why a sustainable farm is so important. It was truly farm to table and we ate our lunch at the farm with the food that we had picked ourselves. We had an amazing lunch with pork, quail, strawberries, corn, beans and a fresh salad. We all sat outside, eating under an avocado tree with the owners of the farm and their family and friends. It was so amazing that the family opened up their house to us, such great hospitality. After lunch we stayed at the farm and danced with many of the locals. They taught us a lot of traditional dancing and we taught them some from the United States. Overall it was an amazing lunch even for those of us who can’t dance.
After we got back from the farm we had a meeting to discuss our community action project. We already know that we will be working in partnership with a school for kids who have disabilities. The school runs a farm in order to teach the kids valuable life skills that they will be able to use when searching for a job after high school. The profits from the farm go back into the school and to the kids. We as a group decided that our project should be to build more animal shelters for the guinea pigs and rabbits that they raise. This will allow them to store more animals and hopefully sell them for a higher price at the markets. We will start the actual building of the shelters on Thursday.
After our meeting we had some free time to walk around town, some people went to the internet cafe while others played soccer at the park. Many of us also went to the bakery to buy more sweets.
We then went to dinner at San Valentino del Club where we ate burritos, quesadillas, hamburgers and some of us ordered a pizza to eat back at the hostel as well. We ended the night with a recap of the day where we all agreed that we had a lot of fun dancing and hanging out at the farm!