June 8th 2019:

Students started off the day by participating in a mental warm up that considered the deconstruction of poverty in Riobamba, Ecuador and the Western world. Students were introduced to the organization Manitos Trabajadores . The organization helps raise funds in order to provide children (from ages as young as two years old to 18 years old) acquire a home-cooked meal during the week. Manitos Trabajadores also works to help the children that work on the streets in Ecuador to stay in school and offer the children the opportunity to travel outside the city limits in order to gain experiences. The moment that the students arrived at Parque Maldonado, they were greeted by the children that work under the care of Javier Espin’s (the Manitos Trabajadores Manager). The joy and laughter that was present in Parque Maldonado was so heart warming and uplifting because of the fact that the children still have smiles on their faces even through the tough struggle they have had to face in their everyday life.

In the afternoon, students gathered in Parque Maldonado and were separated into four groups. The children in Manitos Trabajadores guided us Glimpsers throughout the Parque Maldonado and Parque Sucre in helping them to work. Half of us helped sell lollipops and cotton candy for 50 cents. The other Glimpsers helped by learning to shine shoes for 50 cents. Through this experience, many students said they felt humbled and inspired as the children at a young age work to help provide to their families and were still able to maintain a positive attitude. Some knowledge that the children imparted on the Glimpsers was that wealth is defined by happiness and not by your material wealth.

As a Glimpser, some major key takeaways that we have are the fact that money does not always bring happiness because all of the children were continuously joyful even through the challenging circumstances  they live through every day. Another key takeaway was that the children of Monitos Trabajadores were very respectful and mature for their age which differently humbled and inspired all of us Glimpsers.