Hi, my name is Tishiya, and I was the leader of the day to close off our CAP projects. For all of us, today was incredibly big and amazingly impactful. From earlier on in our trip, we had seen glimpses of what life is like here in Ecuador for those that are in need, whether that need is resources, support, or community recognition, and today was the day we left our mark on those that touched and changed our lives for the better. We had big dreams and aspirations, and worked hard to try to accomplish everything we thought we could to benefit our friends at Wambra Bici, an organization we partnered with to help realize their goals. Wambra Bici is an organization dedicated to helping the children of Riobamba, most of which work as shoe shiners and snack sellers in local plazas for as much as 12 hours a day, just to be able to afford school supplies, basic necessities and be able to support their families. Not only do these kids lack basic necessities like food and medicine, but they lack something we all take for granted and always have. These kids don’t know what it means to have a childhood, to be able to play and enjoy themselves like they should at such young ages, and after trailing them as they worked and spending time with them, we were all very invested in helping the organization and making their goals come true. We had decided to do this earlier by fixing donated bikes for the kids to ride and reaching out to the community for their support, and we were determined to see it through. From waking up at 6:45 this morning, we worked as much as we could on the bikes, spray painting and replacing parts at a local mechanic high school for most of the day. However, as a favor to the school that gladly lent us all their mechanical tools, experience, students, time and space, we also had the opportunity to paint a mural for the younger kids. And as leader of the day, this project was by far most of my day. From quickly sketching out ideas on a piece of paper with my group, to sending people out to get paint while others stayed to sketch out those ideas in chalk on the wall, and finally getting together as a group to paint, I had an amazing time. Working with the bikes for me was very difficult, especially because I don’t know a thing about bikes, not even to ride them, but I did my best to help in whatever way I saw that I could. The mural, however, was more of my area of expertise, and it was really great to see that my ability to draw kids cartoon characters and wield a paintbrush could make such a big difference. To see the faces of the kids and the school officials when we presented our mural really made all the hard work worth it, and I was so proud of our group for pulling together to complete a full mural in one day, working around wet paint and each other to get something done. The quote of the day, very aptly I think, was “A lot of little people, working together doing little things in little places, can make a big difference,” and between all the people that pulled together to fix the bikes and paint the mural, we truly exemplified that. I am extremely proud to have been leader of the day today, and more importantly, to have been fortunate enough to be a part of this delegation and met the people that I have. Thank you for reading.

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