“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” -Theodore Roosevelt

So today was the first day we put our plans for the Community Action Project, or CAP for short, to work. Although we didn’t climb any volcanoes, get our hands dirty at a farm, or pet any cute and cuddly animals, the group had a lot of fun cleaning and beautifying a space at the corner of a little neighborhood called Manuelita Saenz. These past few weeks, we’ve worked hard in teams to tackle this big project; the outreach group (in charge of advertising), the landscape and infrastructure groups (working hard to design a layout for the area), the beautification/mural group (a group dedicated not only to painting a mural but also the the overall beautification of the space), and lastly the finance group (who worked hard to best put our donations to use and managed our budget). The progress we made today exceeded our expectations. The cooperation of our group was something that can only be seen from groups that share an inherent and unshakable bond. That was demonstrated without question today. The communication between us, the leaders of the day, and the group members were present throughout the project even though one of us (Allen) was out for the day after getting a bit sick. As a group, we demonstrated great responsibility and a healthy work ethic.

As soon as we got to the site, the hard work began. We teamed up to clear all the garbage, glass, and weeds from the space and as soon as that was done, the beautification group got right to work priming the wall for our mural. Meanwhile, the rest of the group members helped to further clear the area of debris and prep the space for the plants and benches that are yet to be put into place. Although we came across a few obstacles, such as the roly-poly infested walls, or the fact that we couldn’t dispose of the weeds and garbage the way we had planned; we strategized as a team and managed to work around the obstacles. We did find some interesting things while cleaning, some quite disturbing; but we managed to clean everything up in preparation for tomorrow. Also, while working, we felt like quite the celebrities as a local news station came by to interview a few group members about our project. This great excitement carried the group through the rest of the day’s work and all the way to dinner, where we all huddled around a TV anxiously waiting to see each other on screen.




Also, today’s English classes concluded our teaching here in Riobamba. Our students were just as sad to see us go as we were to leave but after taking lots of pictures and exchanging contact information, we invited them to our talent show this Thursday. We really enjoyed teaching our students from Riobamba and I think it was a great learning experience for everybody. I think the whole group would agree that we, the teachers, gained a lot from the experience and really felt that we did something positive for the community. So although today’s classes were a sad goodbye, it was great to see how much our efforts were appreciated by our students.


To Alondra: I miss you so much! Reading your letters is the highlight of each day. I’m really looking forward to seeing you for a few days, even briefly. I love you.
To my family: Today we started the community work that I had been talking about. Today mostly consisted of gardening/cleaning out the area. The work was pretty laborious, but I enjoyed seeing the progress being made. Also, my ankle is absolutely fine! Love you guys!


Hi Amma and Appa!

Could you look for a place where I an retake calc? Either over summer or during the first semester EVC finishes an entire year in one semester! Also did report cards come home? I miss you all!


Hey family and friends! Today was awesome bc I was on TV! I was interviewed and I was also in the background a lot. It was kinda funny how they misspelled my name. Lol. But it was kind of sad today because we ended the English classes today. Some of my students wanted to follow me on Facebook, but I said I couldn’t have a Facebook account :c. Although we did take pics together, which was awesome. I’ll show you them when I get back!


Hey Mom and Takeo, and Abuelita and Tata! I miss you guys sooooo much! Today was such a bitter sweet day because it was my last day teaching English to little Ecuadorian children. They were all so cute and I can’t wait to tell you about them and show you pictures of them. Talk to you soon!


To Helena’s family& friends: We had out last English tutoring class today and it was so sad 🙁 We took soo many pictures of the class and a bunch of students came up to us asking if they could add us on Facebook- They’re so cute and I’m going to miss them so much! I hope you’re all having a great day/night and I love you!


Hey mom, dad and Ambar! One day down 3 to go 🙂 I miss you guys and OTIS! We started our CAP project and I’m leading of the day tomorrow so Ambar you can be happy now LOL. Love you guys and see you Saturday. (I leave Friday night!)


Hallo Mama! I war heute “El Lider del Dia” fuehr unser CAP Project! Als ich gestern “Leader” wurde musste ich ein Talent vorfuehren. Mein partner und ich brachten der Klasse bei wie man deutsche Schimpfwoerter sagt und Ich lehrte ihnen das wort Rindfleischetikettiersungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz und das fanden sie sehr lustig.  Ich geniesse meine Zeit hier in Ecuador aber ich habe Geschenke fuer euch und ich freue mich euch wieder zu sehen.

Deine Marlene <3