Hello everyone!

I am Sage Lajoie and I was Leader del Dia for our last full day in Ecuador today. We started off the day by waking up at 8 o’clock and going to breakfast at Café del Tren, but some of us went on our last morning run at 5:30 with Tony. After we ate some eggs, fruit salad, and bread with butter for breakfast, we went back to the hotel to have our Closing Trip Reflection Seminar. We did a quick mental warm up involving dancing then started reflecting on the trip. We made lists about things we will stop, start, and continue doing after the trip. We also made drawings of our five favorite moments, what you learned about yourself, what you learned about being a leader, and one person who inspired you most then shared about them in small groups. Then, we did an activity where everyone passed around their own piece of paper and everyone had to write something nice about them. It was really cool and made everyone feel really good. Next, we had an open mic where some people shared a rap about everyone, someone read a poem, and some shared their feelings about everyone. The seminar ended around 12:00 and we had some free time to pack our bags and go out to explore the city one more time.

At 2, we left for Isabel’s (the chef and owner of Roma Santa) farm for lunch and dinner and to just have some time to hang out. We got there and had a lunch of beans, salad, potatoes, chicken, sausages, and mushrooms for the vegetarians. After we finished lunch, we got a quick tour of the farm and played at a local park. Then, we went back for dinner and had hamburgers/veggie burgers and fries. Next, sadly, we had to say our last goodbyes to Isabel, her son Nelson, and their family. We gave Isabel a card with a group picture of us and a brief message, along with a cool, woven doll and flowers. We also gave Nelson a baseball with all of our signatures, a soccer ball, and a ball pump. Some people started crying when we were leaving and thanking Isabel’s family for everything and it was pretty tough.

When we got back to the hotel, we had to say goodbye to our beloved bus driver, Juanito. We gave him a poncho, a headband, a letter with a picture of us on it, and all of the extra money from the Community Action Project to him. He had been so nice and helpful for the whole trip. He spent some of his extra time helping us out with our project and just hanging out with us during our other activities. It was just as hard to say bye to him as it was with Isabel’s family. We had our last Nightly Meeting when we got into the hotel and had our last group thoughts. The torch was passed to Daniel and everyone is talking to one another and getting ready to leave tomorrow. It’s pretty sad, but I know that everyone had an amazing trip that they will remember forever, and made friends that they will never forget.