Hi family!

Today we visited two organizations, one affiliated with the government and one that is a non-profit, in order to learn about programs in Guaranda that assist the community. We also had two seminar/discussions in which we decided on our community action project and what our roles would be.

At CDI Guaranda (MIES), a childcare center that is funded by the government, we talked to two of the employees there in order to learn about the programs they offer for handicapped, elderly, or young people. One of the speakers explained that they are happy with the programs they can provide but struggle to maintain funding because of criticism from other community members who don’t receive government assistance and politicians who prioritize other things. This reminded us of how public education often lacks funding or is funded unevenly because the government has other interests. Later, we were able to spend time with the kids and observe their playground, dining area, and restrooms in order to help brainstorm for what we want to create at Pachamama.

In the afternoon, we went to Fundación Betesda, a non-profit that offers rehab for drug addicts or abuse victims as well as personal training/Zumba classes. We had personal discussions with the employees there in order to learn about how they are funded and what their motivations/goals are. Miguel, one of the volunteers, explained that he had recovered from a 5 year drug addiction which allowed him to better connect with the people seeking help from the organization. We learned that a non-profit in Guaranda is difficult to fund, so the volunteers often have to work on other projects in order to maintain an income and to offer free services. After our discussion, David and Laura (volunteer trainers from Spain), led us in a kickboxing, aerobics, abdominals, and Zumba/dance class. It was super fun to see the whole group engaged and energized in the workout even when the steps were hard to follow.

Our group discussion was about our CAP project and what we wanted to achieve. As Líderes de Día, it was difficult to facilitate the group discussion because everyone had opinions and separate projects that they were passionate about. We ended up splitting into groups of materials, budgeting, and general overview for the presentation of our projects on Sunday. The main advice that we got from the other students was that we could have been louder so this discussion was more organized.

At the nightly meeting, we discussed the positive and negative impacts of aid. It was interesting to connect our ideas about how aid can cause dependence on government money or be unfairly distributed with our experience in the morning meeting kids who really benefited from government support.

-Joyce and Janvi