Hola mi gente! We are Mateo and Alejandro, today’s Leaders of the Day :). Today’s goal was to begin our Community Action Project (CAP). The site our delegation is working at over the next few days is Unidad Educativa Carlos Garbay. It’s a school in Riobamba– and the first of its kind in Ecuador– to serve as an institution for students with both mental and physical disabilities. Though, they are so much more than a school. They begin enrolling children as little as 6 months and continue to serve the students and their families until they are 22 years old. As the students grow older, the teachers begin collaborating with the families in order for them to develop business and entrepreneurship skills to take with them beyond the classroom.

As Lorena, the school’s director, gave us a tour of Carlos Garbay, we diligently took notes on things we as a group could construct into a fully fleshed project. Lorena was clear in telling us what our delegation could provide to the school. The three basketball courts, their dark room– a low-lit sensory-reset room–, and some of their outside landscaping were the projects they deemed top priority. After the tour, so many ideas were floating around. We narrowed it down to two Lorena touched upon earlier today: repainting the basketball courts and finishing and furnishing their dark room. Now was to divide and conquer! Tonight, we were entirely committed to our Design Phase seminar. We drafted material lists for both repainting the basketball courts and the dark room. Our budget was also determined– each Glimpser donated what they were personally comfortable with and we came to a sum of $785 (WOW que dinero)! We are so thankful for this flexible budget and throughout the coming days will create a presentation to present to Lorena and her staff. It’s so important for both delegation AND Unidad Educidad Carlos Garbay to come to a clear conclusion on what would be the best project for this school. “Sustainable” was tossed around a lot today. Completely understandable though! In order for all of our work to even be worth it, this project must be something that is long-lasting and truly valued by the students, families, and staff of Unidad Educativa Carlos Garbay.

After a lot of brain power was used, we took ourselves back to Roma Santa for dinner. Isabel served us an almost “hispanic pho”. It was soooo delicious that we all got up and danced bachata! Wepppaaa!!!! Even students that didn’t know how to dance were getting down and dirty. With lots more dancing and some Just Dance 4 action, we went back to our hotel, Tren Dorado. Maria is one of the owners of the hotel and her birthday was today! Her son Pablo, his wife, their ADORABLE son, and all of us surprised her with a mariachi band. She was thrilled! Quickly, a second dance party was upon us. Maria was in the middle of our dance circle, which turned into all of us getting a turn to dance with the birthday girl. Pablo brought out a tiny chariot (the mariachi outfit) for his son. His tiny little sombrero was too precious.

After this jam-packed day, our leadership roles have finally concluded. Initially, it seemed like a daunting task to be the leaders of the group. Though, as we settled into our roles, it got easier and easier. The one thing we did not do was do our headcount in Spanish… sorry Steph! Maybe the LDDs tomorrow will do it lol.

Hi mom and dad! (and Baba!) I miss the littles so much 🙂 Tell them I say hi 🙂  –Mateo

Hola Mami y Papi (and Isabella I guess–jk love you!), I miss yall so much and tell Victoria que le extrano (I dont miss the diapers lol)–Alejandro 🙂