Hola queridos!

This morning we got to sleep in a little bit (7:15am!!) before heading to La Estancia for a great morning breakfast, where we enjoyed the addition of jam to our pan. We then walked to MIES, an Economic and Social Inclusion Ministry. We began with a seminar led by a couple of employees from the foundation who walked us through the various forms of aid that they provide to the people of the Providence of Bolivar. These services benefit those with disabilities, offer protection and support for families, and front programs for child development. A major part of their foundation includes pensions for those with physical and mental disabilities, those who are single mothers, those who have retired, and those living in poverty. Depending on the severity of their situation, the pensions given by MIES range from $50 to $150.


After the seminar, we were guided through the retirement community portion of the organization. We saw where the residents eat, sleep, paint, and participate in activities that allow them to keep up with their motor skills through occupational therapy. During our walk, we learned that many of the residents had experienced abandonment, poverty, or had suffered emotional/physical abuse. It helped us gain a new perspective on the importance of aid for communities that are underserved and overlooked. We then visited the childcare center, located on the other end of the foundation. We were split into small groups, and were able to visit various classrooms of children aged 12-36 months. Emily was put into a classroom with the youngest class, where we learned how to identify body parts and danced along to music. Lucy was put into a classroom with some of the oldest students, where they also danced and did various activities. After our dance sesh, we joined the rest of the classes in the cafeteria and helped the teachers feed students their lunch. The kids were very sweet and loving, and were excited to speak with us in Spanish! MIES Infantil provides three meals a day, free care from 7:30am to 4pm, and all of their funding (for diapers, etc.) comes from the state. While this experience was fun and heartwarming, it also allowed us to gain some insight into the availability of childcare within the Providence of Bolivar.

After our field trip to MIES, we walked to La Estancia for a great lunch consisting of fried rice, maduros (sweet plantains), another great juice, and ice cream for dessert! After lunch, we walked back to the hotel for a little break before the next field trip. We grabbed more water and changed into workout clothing for our trip to Betesda! Betesda is a foundation of social and familial assistance. The foundation offers counseling services for families and community members who are struggling with emotional, drug related and familial issues. We visited their gym, a new addition to their foundation, created just four months ago. The founders of Betesda, Diana and David, led a combat and Zumba class for us. Although some of us struggled to exercise in the high altitude, it was really fun and nice to work off all the carbs we have been eating on this trip. Our Zumba class integrated different types of Latin American dance such as Bachata, Salsa, and more. We had great discussions, used our Spanish skills, and got a great workout in!

We returned to the hotel, took showers, and had a snack break. After that, we had a two hour seminar to plan our CAP project and made lots of progress, but stay tuned to find out what it is (just trying to keep you all reading the blog!). We are now passing the torch (trucker hat/LDD hat) to Skyler, and want you all to know that we miss you and are having a blast here in Guaranda, Ecuador.

Sending lots of love!

Emily K. and Lucy R. <3

(P.S. we’re all starting to get a little homesick and love reading all of your comments! I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from us and we would love to hear from you).