After quite the journey into town, the Glimpsers and leadership team were excited to spend our first full day in Guaranda. The city has a warm, welcoming feel to it that wraps its arms around you from the moment you cross the border. Guaranda is surrounded by seven mountains and features a vibrantly colorful landscape that effortlessly steals the breath of even the most seasoned traveler.


Saturday began with a delicious and generously portioned breakfast courtesy of our meal provider, La Estancia. This family-run restaurant has been in business for fourteen years and serves up mouth watering dishes, while catering to any and all food preferences and allergies. Ana, the matriarch of this fine establishment, greets customers with a warm smile and punctual service. We are extremely lucky to have this dedicated group ensuring the tranquility of our stomachs over the course of the next two weeks.

Resultado de imagen para la estancia guaranda

After breakfast it was back to Hostel Bolivar for some group safety review and team building exercises. Highlights included a game of Wah! that concluded with an animated, but amicable showdown between Anna and Alex. In terms of the group dynamic, we have laid a solid foundation that I look forward to building upon with each coming day.

The preparation of our Program Coordinators, Joshua and Alex, has been evident since moment one of this journey and we count ourselves fortunate to have a dedicated in-country staff. This was on full display during our city tour of Guaranda which featured a visit to Parque 9 de Noviembre and a history lesson of Coronel Garcia, an Argentinian colonel who perished in the struggle for Ecuadorian independence.

Then it was off to the Mercado 10 de Noviembre, a bustling open-air market where fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat can be purchased for reasonable prices. We had a chance to interact with some local merchants who explained that they typically work ten hours each day in the market but were quick to greet us with huge smiles and tasty bananas. Audrey, my co-leader, astutely noted that the flower section had been carefully placed next to the fish section in hopes of taming the pungent fish smell emanating from this area of the market. The Glimpsers had a vivid look at the realities of the food that appears on our plates each day and I have a sneaking suspicion that some may even be looking into vegetarianism upon their return home.

Our tour concluded with a trip to Plaza Roja, or the Red Square of Guaranda. Here the Glimpsers learned of the ties between Ecuador and Communism. The title of this square also refers to the blood spilled over the ten-year struggle for Independence from Spain, as Central and South American nations engaged in the Bolivarian Revolution. Simon Bolivar was the driving force during this campaign and is still a celebrated figure throughout Ecuador.

Resultado de imagen para plaza roja guaranda

We were then joined by Gustavo, a historian with the Guaranga Museum, who delivered a thorough history of Carnival in Ecuador. He explained the history and purpose behind what many view simply as a party, including the celebration’s ties to the courtship process of young Ecuadorians and a demonstration of the cultural dances. Students then synthesized the day’s learning via a visual representation of the information to which they’d been exposed. The afternoon concluded with a ten question quiz, with delicious Ecuadorian chocolate driving the friendly competition.

The night concluded with an educational seminar regarding the English tutoring that the Glimpsers will be leading beginning Monday night. Their first foray into lesson planning saw many strong ideas and activities being constructed. Given the group’s dedication to such an unfamiliar process, I have no doubt that they will capably tackle this challenging process. Stay tuned.

As a third-year Global Glimpse Leader, this group is showing all the signs of a tight-knit, successful delegation. Their openness and compassion toward one another after such a short period of hours demonstrates strong character and limitless potential for learning. I invite you all to follow along on this journey with us each night as the blog posts roll in. Thank you for reading and please leave your students comments below, as those will be shared during our nightly meetings.