Hello everyone! Today your Líderes del Día are none other than Cammy and Bekah! We had an incredible experience today that was truly breathtaking, we hope you feel the same way.
Today, we faced the most physically tiring day of our whole trip, taking place at the quintessence of Riobamba. We trekked Chimborazo and el Bosque de Polylepis. If you didn’t already know, Chimborazo is a dormant volcano reaching above the clouds and covered in nieve (snow).
The crazy day began with a 6:30 am wake up call and breakfast at 7. We then took an hour and a half bus ride to the volcano, where we played a bonding game called “Most Likely To.” We then arrived to the first of our 3 stops at Chimborazo, where we used the loo (as Diego calls it) and purchased cozy items such as hats and gloves.
At the second of our three stops, we hiked for about 15 minutes to reach a historical pyramid, and this was the highest above sea level we had been throughout our whole trip (4800 m, or 15,700 feet up!) This hike, although short, was extremely tiring for our lungs, and upon arrival we were all out of breath. At this stop we learned about the story of Chimborazo and the influential people that form its history. Not to mention an amazing view, painful snowball fight and dynamic photo sesh brought to you in part by Jason.
The third and final stop was the most physically demanding, consisting of a 45 minute hike through the Polylepis forest. When we reached the top of our hike, we had an expansive view of the volcano and the surrounding flora (also a few vicuñas). Getting to the top was a surreal feeling. Filling our exhausted lungs with fresh air and taking in the gorgeous scenery was a great culmination of this whole journey we have been on. Although we were all exhausted, by implementing GG’s philosophy of courage, compassion, and commitment, we were able to overcome the challenge at hand and I was so proud of my fellow delegates.
To sum up Cammy’s description of the trip, I feel a quote from one of my favorite documentaries, 180° South, was my personal quote of the day. In this film, one of the men says, “I saw people putting themselves into places they weren’t supposed to be, and I thought to myself, I want to be there too.” To me, this quote shows the adventurous spirit that we were all able to partake in together, allowing ourselves to accomplish something wonderful and physically demanding as a group.
After summiting our own Chimborazo for the day (a gorgeous spot marking the point of our hike), we piled back into the bus for another half hour ride to a town called San Juan. It was here, at a restaurant called La Tertulia, where we enjoyed our lunch. It was a meal of quinoa and potato soup, beef, cheesy potatoes, and a side salad with cantaloupe for dessert. Once we finished, we hopped back on the bus, returning to our hostel for the day.
Upon arrival, the English tutoring groups immediately broke up to finish the lesson plans for our final class tomorrow evening. These plans consist of games and encouragement, as well as learning in a fun and interactive way. I am so proud of this delegation for the experiences we are bringing to the classroom and the memories we have made within them.
However, I know there is one thing many of us have been waiting for, and today, it happened. After sitting everyone down for dinner, I pulled out my speaker as Joselin pulled up our dramatic song of choice, the “Imperial March” from Star Wars. As dinner was being served, we dashed behind the kitchen wall, pulled ourselves together, and started the music. The entire room exploded into sound as we revealed the prize of the night, Ecuadorian cuisine known as Cuy, or Guinea Pig. While some were more eager than others, everyone who wanted to try it, did. I am continuously proud to be a part of a delegation so willing to try new things every single day. After all, it was a very interesting experience, and while it may not have “tasted (exactly) like chicken,” it was still one success to go down in our delegation’s history.
Overall, our day was filled with opportunities that were both physically and mentally challenging. By supporting each other, we have had one more amazing day in Ecuador filled with many memories and sights. As we look forward to our last two days here, it is certain that our time here will forever be a part of who we are.
Bekah and Cammy
P.S. Happy Father’s Day and Happy (early) Birthday, Dad!! I love you so much and I cannot wait to tell you about everything!! ~Bekah