Hello Readers! My name is Zachary Coughlin. Today my co-leader David Guirgis and I had the honor of leading our fellow Glimpsers on our sixth day in Riobamba. Our theme today was education, which took on two separate meanings. The first meaning was education in being open to listening to the problems of others. We learned that the best way to understand the needs of others is to close our mouths, open our ears, and just listen. The other meaning of education we discovered was that everyone deserves it, and nothing and no one should stand in the way. This connects back to our quote of the day, which was, “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai. Our day was action packed and full of adventure, and David and I are proud to present it to you.

Our sixth day began, at 7:00 am, bright and early. Our group was a little tired in the morning, but thankfully we were greeted by an amazing breakfast at Roma Santa, cooked for us by the our impressive chef, Mama Isabella. Our breakfast was a collection of various Ecuadorian dishes, including a corn dish resembling Cream of Wheat, quimbolitos, a sponge cake cooked in banana leaves, chocho beans, and beef. We washed this delicious display down with fresh orange juice. During breakfast the group went over our Question of the day, which was, “Why do you think that education is not always accessible to everyone?” A little more energized from our breakfast, our Glimpsers began our trip to Carlos Garbay, along the way playing a fun game of sticky note Heads Up.

Unitas Educativa Especializada Carlos Garbay, or Carlos Garbay for short, is an organization in Riobamaba that provides education and a safe play area for Riobamban children with special needs. This is the organization where we will be doing our CAP project (Community Action Project). This is the service project we will be planning in the upcoming days. As we toured the compound, our Glimpsers had the opportunity to ask questions,  discuss issues with the teachers, and of course, meet with the children who have special needs. Honestly, that is by far the most touching part of our entire day. Every Glimpser got the opportunity to interact, talk, and play with the children there. It was hard to leave the campus afterwards, but it gave us the passion and fire we needed to plan our CAP Project. However, as everyone knows fire needs fuel, and there is no better place to get fuel in Ecuador than back at Roma Santa.

Lunch consisted of a hearty conglomeration of beef, chicken, quinoa  soup, rice, and a purée. Us Glimpsers were also treated to a surprise dessert, which was an Ecuadorian form of ice cream and merengue. After we satisfied ourselves, we headed back to our hostel for a much needed rest. Although, many students sacrificed their break time in order to prepare for their first English tutoring lessons, which were set to begin in a few hours. The battle preparations entailed the creation of detailed flash cards, posters, visuals to help aid with everyone’s teaching. Then after our hour was up, it was back on the bus for our trek across the city towards our soon to be English classrooms.

As our bus pulled up to the school, tensions were high. Not because everyone was nervous about teaching, but because we were in the middle of heated debate between whether or not KFC or Popeye’s was the best place to get fried chicken. The heat only increased when someone made the mistake of adding Chick-Fil-A to that discussion. Our argument remained inconclusive. Regardless, everyone seemed excited to begin tutoring. Glimpsers were split into three categories of learning: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. The lessons went well, though many groups experienced the challenge of their students already knowing what the Glimpsers planned on teaching. Thankfully, our teachers were able to adapt and create fun games to deepen their students understanding of the material. Some of our biggest supporters were our Glimpsers that were able to translate the lessons, which was Delila, Angel, Alyssa, Louis, Kevin, Bryn, Albert, Will, and Becky. Afterwords, the group cleaned their classrooms and boarded the bus back to Maria Santa.

Our final meal of the day was a refreshing memory of home… Cheeseburgers and fries. Everyone devoured their respective meals, each person scouting other’s plates for leftovers. As everyone relaxed, another debate arose, this time about the best Pixar movie: Walle or Up. David and I voted for Up. Afterwords we concluded our day with our nightly meeting, where we discussed our favorite parts, and what meant most to each of us. The best part of this meeting was the infamous passing of the torch, where the next day’s leaders prove if they can lead by showing a talent of theirs. Alyssa demonstrated some impressive circus moves, and Kevin wowed and perplexed us with his ability to make kazoo noises with his mouth. The group agreed that they deserved the torch, so Kevin and Alyssa will be your leaders tomorrow. Our Glimpsers are in good hands.

David and I consider it a true pleasure to have been able to lead today, and we are incredibly thankful of the support we received from our fellow Glimpsers. Today was an adventure, and we can’t wait to have many more. This is David and Zachary, signing off.