Today, August 3rd, was the day we were to finalize our Community Action Project. There was plenty of enthusiasm mixed with some hesitation. We had a lot to do, and a limited amount of time to do it. To get hyped up, some of us woke up bright and early for an energizing run at 5:55am. Others slept until the leaders of the day knocked on doors and told them to “rise and shine” at 6:30am. We ate a breakfast of champions: “Humitas” (which are basically the Ecuadorian version of Mexican tamales) and scrambled eggs. We had more than enough energy to be fueled for the morning.

After a 1 hour bus ride through Riobamba’s gorgeous landscape, we finally arrived at Amula Casaloma. We found out that “casaloma” actually means “cold hill” in Quichua. That made sense, because especially today, it was rather chilly and windy up on that hill. Luckily, we had layers on, and stayed warm by working hard on the sign, mural, and the shelves for the community kitchen. Some glimpsers also made themselves useful by washing and painting extra walls, and by picking up trash around the community. This hard work carried over into the afternoon. It was down to the wire. But by 2pm, we had everything complete and cleaned up. We took pictures with some members of the community, who gave us friendship bracelets saying “Ecuador” as a token of appreciation. It was wonderful seeing the smiles on their faces and seeing how proud they were to have to their community honored in this way.

We had achieved our goal!

Unfortunately, because we spent more time than expected on this project, we were late (and really tired) for our English tutoring! However, the glimpsers put on a positive attitude and persevered. We quickly forgot our stress and exhaustion when we saw the children’s smiles and excitement. The afternoon ended up being lots of fun.

We ended the day at Nativa Restaurant with a surprise birthday celebration after dinner for several glimpsers who are celebrating their birthdays here in Ecuador. Branndan, Ms. Carsky, Cyonnie and Najma got to blow out the candles on their birthday cakes. It was nice to feel like we had created a little family away from home. We’ve definitely been through a lot together, and we deserved to celebrate that.