How do limited resources and opportunities affect students´ ability to reach their future potential? This is a question we have poured over, pondered, and practiced throughout today’s experience. As we boarded the bus to San Juan de Llullundongo, these words felt distant, something we could only see on the horizon, but have yet to touch and absorb.

Escuela de Educacion Basica F.A.E was founded in 1969 by the Ecuadorian air force known as F.A.E. With only three teachers and a classroom full of eager young-minds, the school of Llullundongo has flourished into a center of prestige. Their advancement in an environment of such limited access is incredibly inspiring, as students who live two hours away, travel the excruciating distance to receive the quality education given.

This institution serves as a symbol of hope and of the future for the rural community of Llullundongo as it provides a means of education and opportunity for children of all ages, races, and backgrounds.

Students in Llullundongo are driven, curious, and eager to learn more. For example, an 8th-9th grade science class has students who would race each other to the board to write an answer or read passages. Their limited access to transportation, proper uniforms, and technology hinders this development and limits the opportunities for a better education and life.  An important theme in our Global Glimpse activities is that poverty takes many shapes and forms, depending on a variety of factors. Although the United States may be considered first-world in our infrastructure, technology, and medicine, the same struggles for low-income students exist. Students from low-income families may not have accessible technology and internet as some of their peers, which severely limits their own development and growth in comparison to their peers. The lack of support for students who have limited resources is a severe issue in our world today, as these are the generations who will lead for this world in the future.

Cecilia, the rectora (principle) of the school, allowed the Global Glimpse program to shadow students in order for us to experience the reality of low-funded, rural schools. The purpose of our visit today was to gather vital information about the needs of the school and how Global Glimpse could aid the community, known as Discovery in our three step process of Discovery, Design, and Delivery. Through a series of interviews with the school staff, we have decided to pursue a project in revamping the exterior walls of the school buildings. To paint the school a uniformed color scheme as well as several murals, we can help aid in creating a place of union and a place that students, staff, and community members can be proud of. Although our main mission was to unearth the needs of the Llullundong school community, we have learned that it is equally important to discover the assets of the individuals of our program. For example, Maritza and Yuvi, who are native Spanish speakers, have been an essential part in breaking the language barrier between the locals and the less fluent members of our program.

The power of language continues to grow stronger each time our cultures are shared. Today was the first day of English Language Tutoring with the local kids of Guaranda at the school Verbo Divino. The experience was amazing as Stephanie, our Program Coordinator, eased our nerves that this was a learning experience for both parties.  Many of us quickly discovered that our lesson plans needed much renovation since the local kids proved to be quite knowledgeable in the English language. One classroom had students that pulled out their English textbooks to show their tutors what they would like to learn. Their eagerness and excitement will never cease to amaze us.

As leaders of the day, the 3 C’s of courage, compassion, and commitment were a vital asset in gathering the group. Courage was especially prominent when we led today. As leaders, we learned that we had to lead by example, as mentioned in a quote we had by John Quincy Adams. Courage taught us to be more vocal in a group of unknown faces, to jump into courtyard games, and to work harder to inspire others in their own journey of courage.

Heads up! Tomorrow is our free day with plenty of time to buy souvenirs, contact family members, and enjoy the beauty of the city of Guaranda.

Alli tuta (“goodnight” in Kichwa, the indigenous language of Ecuador),

Ashley, Apryl, Sophia