Today we visited an impoverished town of 1,500 in the upper Andes, known as the San Juan de Llullundongo; where our purpose was to help build adobe bricks to make a community kitchen. When we arrived we were greeted by Ángel, the community leader, as well as many local kids. This really was a moving moment for all of us, as we were able to see the curiosity, excitement, and hope within the community. Ángel showed us their community house where they hold meetings, which was beaten and run down with two barely stable handmade benches and tables. Additionally, Ángel expressed to us that he hoped that improving the quality of the house would strengthen the community so that the future generations could break the cycle of poverty and addiction that is prevalent today.

Our goal for the day was to make 150 bricks; but not only did we reach our goal, we surpassed it and reached a total of 207. We worked for 4 hours in high elevation with little to no shade, and although we were all exhausted everyone did a great job at pushing through in order to gain an authentic experience working like a local. Now that we have experienced the hard work the Ecuadorian farmers go through on a daily basis, we are so much more appreciative of the food on our table and lives we are fortunate enough to live. Working along side Ángel and others from Llullundongo and witnessing their happiness truly left an impact on us, as we can now see that the happiest people have the least.

Back in Guaranda, we had our first English tutoring session. We were split into 9 different classrooms teaching students with a range of english skills: from basic to advanced. This allowed us all to fully grasp the challenges teachers face daily, giving us more appreciation and gratitude for the educators in our lives and the world.

Overall today has been very eyeopening and has made us appreciate the little things in our lives. We would like close out this blog with our quote of the day which truly encompasses the lessons we learned today: “At least once in your life you will need a doctor, a lawyer, an architect, but everyday, 3 times a day, you will need a farmer.” – Anonymous.

Signing off from Guaranda