Hi, this is today’s Líder del Dia, JC. Waking up at 6:30am without an alarm or any technology was hard and I have no idea how I did it, but it was done. We had an amazing breakfast of fruits, eggs and bread and afterwards we had a group meeting. We discussed solutions for anything that we were all having difficulties with and we all came to several agreements and we ended the day better than we started it. We started our Community Action Project and we visited the school we are going to work with later on. The school was severely under-constructed, so a lot of us had many ideas of what we want to do later on in our trip. We came up with an action plan and the three groups we split into (Construct, Fix, and Aesthetic) began working on our pitches.

Afterwards, we played Human Knot as a bonding activity. Either as a testament to how well we work together or how easy the knot was – we finished the activity in record time. We had a great huge “family dinner” and we ate pasta and meatloaf and rice. It was nice and a challenge to eat new Ecuadorian-style food. At the end of the night in our Nightly Meeting we were all anxious for the next day because the next day is centered around deconstructing poverty. But Paco, our Program Coordinator, calmed us down and made us excited to work with the children in the streets of Riobamba.

While visiting the school, we played and talked with the children and the staff members at the educational institution which teaches students from kindergarten to high school. The students we talked to said they liked their school just the way it was and that they didn’t want anything more. However, if you think deeper about their answers you realize this is their reality not ours and the students experience a different school atmosphere than us. I realized we needed to think differently and ask better questions. When asking the administration and staff members how they think we could make the school better, we received the opposite reaction. They had a plethora of answers and supplies they needed and construction they would like. When we came back to our hostel and had our Community Action Project Seminar, we listed every possible project we could do and discussed and narrowed everything down. This seminar really made us think about what is feasible and sustainable for us to complete.

After this past week as a Glimpser, I’ve had a great experience learning about my Ecuadorian heritage and how connected the people in Riobamba are to their traditions. Even something as small as ponchos as a way of protection, which could be easily replaced by a jacket. But they carry so much meaning that people continue to incorporate ponchos into their attire even if it’s wearing it over several sweaters. I’ve also liked learning more about thinking not “in someone else’s shoes” but thinking with the mindset that “I’m not in their shoes and I don’t understand their experiences” so I need to be compassionate and committed to learning more and having the courage to get out of my comfort zone and decide to learn more from someone else. And today as Líder del Dia, I had to express myself more and take control when discussions got heated or compromises needed to be met. As a Glimpser and Lider del Dia, I exercised compassion the most for others and for myself to know that I and my fellow Glimpsers are capable of a lot, we just need to have the desire to achieve it.

Love you mom and dad, JC.