Our second day in Guaranda, Ecuador started off with (yet again) a brilliant breakfast from our favorite family restaurant, La Estancia. Immediately afterwards, our small party of 22 took a bus up a very bumpy but scenic hill to Tagma San José. There we met one of our three special guests for the day, Carlos Rea and his enthusiastic daughter Samay.

Carlos and his daughter then took us on an educating tour of the Tagma San Jose mountains where their family resides and flourishes off a completely self-sufficient lifestyle. On the tour, our speakers showed us a variety of flora and fauna both native and foreign to the region, such as a particularly intriguing tree that leaked a milky glue-like substance from its branches and leaves.


After arriving at a quaint accommodation, we were led to by Carlos, us Glimpsers had the honor and privilege to participate in an ancient ritual which honored nature and life existence. The ritual itself consisted of a circle of maíz (corn) kernels with a cross made from similar ingredients in the middle. The ritual required everyone to stand in a circle holding hands while simultaneously sending positivity to everyone’s respective family and Mother Earth. This segment was followed by an individual aspect where one person at a time would place a fruit (that we bought the day before at the local market) in the circle with a small thought of gratitude.



Carlos and his family then treated us to a homegrown sample of maíz, tomatoes, and beans – all which tasted extremely fresh and delicioso. After a quick game of volleyball – and a swift rescue of the ball from tumbling off a cliff by our Program Coordinator, Joshua, we were ready to make our way to the restaurant La Guilena.


The food and conversations at La Guilena were filled with meaning and warmth, leaving everyone inside with a stomach full of food and a heart full of rising feelings. We knew we were going to be participating in a water activity at La Guilena; we did not however, expect to wage a full on water war. The water fight ended dramatically with our entire group plotting a coup against one of our other Program Coordinators, Alex, and soaking him head to toe in a tub (not bucket) full of water.


Our fieldtrip came full circle with a festive celebration led by the actual Taita (master of ceremonies) of the Carnival in Ecuador. The Taita had on a bright red poncho and held the “torch” passed on to him by previous Taitas. The singing and dancing accompanied by a warm coffee (after a wet fight) and anticipation of the homely traditional treats, such as quimbolitos, prepared by the Glimpsers (consisting of a corn dough filled with either cheese or brown sugar and wrapped in corn leaves) was enough to create a comforting environment and satisfying end to Culture Day.