Hi Friends and Family,

My name is Rishi Krishnan, and I was privileged to be the El Lider del Dia today. Our group had a very jam packed day, since two full day topics were combined into one day’s worth of activities, but I’m pleased to say that all of us took it in stride.

Our day began like most others, with a 6:45 am wake up call, followed by a 7:15 breakfast. Today’s topics would be Global Business, along with Aid and Development, two things I am very passionate about. We began the morning with a discussion on businesses and ethics, focusing specifically on oil drilling in the “Oriente” part of Ecuador. We were split into two teams and had a quick Pro vs. Anti oil debate, which, naturally, got heated very quickly! Our passionate debate was cut short however, as it was time to host our guest Speaker. We were lucky enough to receive an engaging workshop from our speaker, who was from a Riobamba based organization called Utopia. We had 3 stations set up to help us become more aware of the consumer choices we make when buying food. The first station informed us about the danger of junk food, a workshop that hit a little to close to home for my peers and I! The station, pictured below, had a variety of junk food and drink items laid out. We learned from our own Fernanda about the various ingredients that are present in these foods that are harmful to the body. The most important of these was the GMO. Genetically modified organisms are defined as organisms that contain genes that are spliced with the genes of a foreign organism. The scariest part about these GMOs is the dearth of information about them. Scientists don’t fully understand  the effects they have on the body, although some, like MSG, have been linked to cancer. What was even more surprising is that GMO free countries, like Ecuador, still sell many products with these harmful modifications, due to imports from various countries.

Our second station was a taste, smell, and touch station, which shed some light onto how influenced we, as consumers, are about our purchases, based solely off how our senses react to the product. This finally helped me understand why presentation is valued so highly on Food Network’s Chopped. We spent the rest of the time learning about the perfect balanced plate, and the myth of the food pyramid was broken and replaced with what I can only describe as “The Ecuadorian Quinoa Plate,” centered around Quinoa, an Ecuadorian power food.

After thanking our speakers, we left our beautiful hostel, La Primavera. We took a field trip to San Alfonso Market, a local market selling fresh produce, and to Supermaxi Supermarket, which is a big chain brand here in Ecuador. We had some time to complete a scavenger hunt at both places, which was very enjoyable experience, allowing us to interact with local sellers. We followed up the scavenger hunts with a delicious lunch at Nativa, with some, including myself, paying to have seconds.

We shifted gears in the afternoon, talking about Aid and Development. We spoke about the pros and cons of giving Aid to other countries, and we learned about some unintended consequences that aid can have on local economies. After an engaging discussion that lasted a few hours, we got ready for our 4th English class, which has grown to become many students’ favorite part of their trip. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching my English class, and interacting with Ecuadorian youth, who helped me sharpen my Spanish skills as well!

For me, today was the most informative day of the trip, and sharpening my leadership skills certainly played a part in that. I learned that I am surprisingly calm in fluctuating conditions, but my classmates didn’t hesitate to tell me that I needed to speak much louder than I was. Not only did I learn more about myself today, I also was able to learn how to be a better consumer, and to look deeper than just brand names, or foods that taste great. What I really enjoyed was that none of the sessions had any bias at all. The goal of the day was not to tell us what was right or wrong, but to open both our eyes and mind, to empower us with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions. I think we all learned today that our decisions have an impact that reaches much further than just ourselves, and that we need to be conscious of that when making any decisions.

I would like to end this post with a quick shout out to my family(Mom, Dad, and Neha, thanks for reading this every night, I can’t wait to see  you in a few days!) and with a quote that I think encompasses all the we participated in and learned today.

“Through my consumer actions, I can change the world.”

Thanks for reading!


– Rishi Krishnan


Shout Outs

Hey mom, brother I’m still alive! I’m doing great don’t worry. Can’t wait to see you. – Jasmine

I love you guys!! – Sara Molina

I love you guys! Hope you guys are doing well. – Cara

Hola Family! Spent another day teaching English class which probably has to be then most challenging part of the whole trip! Time’s moving slowly here and it’s crazy to hear about Turkey! Love and miss you so! – Mason

Hello mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, and lil’ bruh, I’m having a really life changing experience. But I’m a lil’ sick today and I’ll get over it. I’ll be home soon. – Da Fu Wen

Hi mom, dad, adhyr and Akida, how are you? I’m having a lot of fun. We have a free day weds., so I will try to call, but until then goodbye. I love you! -Roby

Hey mom, dad, and Shea, I miss you a lot and I’m still having a blast out here in Ecuador. I have also taken many photos on my camera and I can’t wait to show you guys!!! – Ronald Thomas

Hi yougus, I miss you and I can’t to share with you my experiences I’ve  had -Ayanna

Alo, I love you, Bless. -Leo





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