Today’s theme was Fun Day #2 and it began with an early start. First we had breakfast, then we got to the bus to make our way to a nature refuge near the base of the Chimborazo mountain. After a tiring hike we had lunch and came back to the hostel for designated free time. Near 5:30pm some returned back to join the rest at the hostel to have our nightly meeting. Following our meeting we finalized our letters of appreciation and had a movie night. The common room was filled with pizza and pop, and we ended up watching Insidious, a scary movie (not a favorite of Melly’s).

Today we hiked around the Chimborazo Volcano and part of the Polylepis forest. While in the process of hiking we learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which led us to creating a stronger knit bond with the people on the trip. The continuous words of encouragement from everyone was the most surprising moment of the day. To hear and see others push those who felt they were at their lowest point was truly eye opening. We were proud to see that all 19 of us actually completed part 1 and 2 of the hike. For the group, Melly seemed to be the most inspiring one of us all. She overcame her fear of heights, and went farther on the hiking trail than ever before.

For Amiya and I, being leader of the day was both a lesson and an experience. Trying to care for others while caring for yourself is a difficult task in itself. We learned that we can take charge when needed and that being a leader is more than just playing the assertive role. It is also about being there for others when no one else will. We also learned that not everyone responds to the same situations in the same way, which is why during the hike some found it more easy, while others found it more challenging.

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