Bonjour, or whenever you’re reading this. This is Rebecca, one of the new LDDs (Leaders of the Day) speaking. Today was education day, and no, we did not go to a school; we actually planted trees today. To start the day we woke up at 6:30 am to wake everyone else at 7:15 am. After a slow morning, we rushed everyone out to breakfast at Roma Santa with our lovely Isabel. For breakfast today we had chicken sausages, fruit salad, platanos con queso, and coffee and tea. After breakfast, we hopped on the bus for a quick ride to Club Ecologico de Los Shyris, which is where we planted our trees. For the theme of education, we learned about the effects of human behavior on nature. We were given the chance to make a more positive impact by planting our own trees. We planted two types of trees native to Ecuador called the capuli and nogal. We even saw giant bees called bungas, or the devil’s horse. After the club, we headed back to Isabel’s for lunch. We had rice, beef sauce, avocado salad, and an Ecuadorian potato dish. Yum, yum! Lunch was fun as always, especially with the free karaoke. We headed back to the hotel and worked on our Community Action Project. Although it was stressful, we got it done and just right in time for dinner. We headed out to dinner around 6:00 pm and had chicken soup with empanadas and tea. After dinner, we had our nightly meeting and passed the torch to the new LDDs, which you will be meeting tomorrow. Now, passing the blog to Neissa!

Hey, it’s Neissa here. Today was so much fun! We learned so much about environmental conservation and how we, as young people, can initiate active change by simply loving the Earth, our second love. We were compelled to start a change in our own community when we go back home! After learning the history of Club Ecologico de Los Shyris, I was shocked to hear that we were standing near the 4th most contaminated river in Ecuador, the Chibunga River. It is so contaminated because the water that is flowing directly into the river is not being met with a treatment plant. What really left me speechless was that the founders made an ACTIVE change to conserve the river by planting over 5,000 plants and cleaning up the area. The founder, Martin Escobar, spoke about how his family came to Los Shyris in 1975 and enjoyed the liveliness of the river with its beautiful fish and eco-life but expressed his feelings when seeing it die and lose its beauty. However, he didn’t just sit back and stay sad about it. He started the Club and initiated ACTIVE change, despite the government not acknowledging the river and its community’s value. Martin Escobar inspired me in my role as LDD and as a young person in general to initiate change, no matter where I am. Well, I’ll leave you with that thought.

¡Hasta luego!

Shout out to Sweet Sip (I miss boba!) -Rebecca