Hello family and friends!

Today was the day we had all been anticipating, CAP (Community Action Project) day one! As you know, the group decided to paint a mural for the primary school in the community of Las Gradas. Today was a shock, in a good way, as to how much we were able to accomplish!

Let’s start at the beginning of our day. We had a pretty early start to our day at 6:25 am (4:25 am back home). Following the wake up call we had an early breakfast of arepas, scrambled eggs, and crossaints. Then we scurried off to the bus in order to get to the school to begin the much anticipated project. Upon arrival we were greeted by the students, staff, and a local community member. All of them seemed to be just as excited as we were.


Today was a bit uncertain as to how the weather would treat us. However, we were lucky to see partially cloudy skies with sun. We began to sand down the wall as soon as we got there. Having everyone work together we got the wall sanded down in less than an hour! Then, with the help of Don Justo, we got to priming the wall. At first we were skeptical about adding water to the primer because we were not told to by the vendor. However, after trusting Don Justo we were able to have a lot more primer than expected! We were even able to sketch and paint solid colors on the wall – all before lunch! We were also able to paint the steps, which we had in mind, but thought it was not going to be possible due to time and materials. Today we learned that as a hard working team we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to.

After we got done with painting and sketching for the day, we headed back to the hotel. Once we arrived we were all so tired, so some of us napped, others showered, and we all got ready for English tutoring. Today was our second to last day of teaching our students, it was bitter sweet. We had informed our students we would not be seeing them after tomorrow. In my class the students told me “please don’t go, we want you to stay until August!” I was surprised to see how much we had grown on each other within three days. The students are just so sweet and enthusiastic to learn English which puts education into perspective. I had never realized how much students in America take education and language for granted. We are lucky to have grown up and learned English – which is such a powerful language in the world. I think that most of us did not realize the advantage we had until we came here. We feel truly fortunate to be here and receive an education we could not get in a classroom.


To be able to do something as simple as a mural may not seem impactful to others. However, in reality this has been a really eye opening experience – things that might seem little to us, aren’t little at all to others. Also seeing the reaction on the kids faces was heartwarming. We can’t wait to see how they react to the final product! We are all so thankful to have the opportunity to have come to Ecuador and have our perspectives widened and thoughts and ideas about people and the world challenged.


I know that for a lot of us in the first week we were quite homesick. However, this second week, we have all become really close to one another. Today we feel that doing this project together has made us even closer. We all just want to make an impact on the world in anyway we can. In fact our quote of the day in our travel journals was, “A lot of little people, doing little things in little places, can change the world” Eduardo Galeano. The quote could not have been more true for our project today. When we all work together we got a lot done. Today is just the beginning to a mural that will hold significance for a long time, hopefully. Day one – check; day two – here we come!

We are also extremely lucky – we are fed the best food in Guaranda, Ecuador. We had some of the best chicken wings in a long time tonight. The food is always outstanding, and we even got ice cream!

Thanks for reading and please comment,

Crystal & Marelyn

PS: Hi mom, dad, Jocy, Paco, Evelyn, and Pollo. It is Marelyn. I love you guys so much I can not wait to come back and tell you about all about the great adventures and lessons I have had. I will see you in a few days. Love you so much. Tell Shakira I miss her too. Ha Ha Ha love you guys.

PS: Hi mom, dad, Jeanette, Anthony, Dulce, Miguel, and Paloma I miss you guys and love you all. I can’t wait to see you and tell you everything about the trip. Also happy early birthday Dulcinea – have fun! See you all soon. – Crystal