Hey, it’s your leaders of the day, Kirsty and Alexa.
It was a great but tough day. We woke up bright and early to have breakfast, which was fried bananas again, which are my (Kirsty) favorite! We also had watermelon, sausage, and granola. We then went straight to our first school where we are going to be doing our Community Action Project (CAP), German Abdo. We toured the school and met some of the students and teachers. Walking around we noticed that they were lacking a lot of what we considered basic necessities. The principal of the school, Narcisa Duchicela, gave us a brief description of what she desired to improve the school. She requested that we take into consideration re-painting the mural on the basketball court wall. She wanted eco-friendly paintings on it to send a good message to the kids. When we spoke to some of the students, one boy said he would like a garden to make the school look prettier. After the tour, we had time to ask any questions that we had. The kids that go to German Abdo come from low-income families, and some aren’t even able to afford the mandatory uniforms, which was quite hard to hear. We also found out that their budget had been cut so the kids will not receive textbooks, breakfast or lunch next year. Hearing this broke our hearts because we take this for granted back home. As you can see, this school needs a lot of help; we are trying to plan out the most impactful and sustainable project for this school.
Since German Abdo is the location of where our (CAP) is, we all had to brainstorm ideas on how to sustainably improve this school in any way we could. In the end, we decided to paint a mural on the wall around the basketball court, paint lines on the basketball court and soccer field, and help improve the current garden that the school has. Even though we have come up with these ideas, we still have to run it by the principal, Narcisa Duchicela, so that she can approve and/or improve our ideas and we can get started. Although we thought of these ideas together, it took a little while for everyone to come to a consensus because of many disagreements. It got a little tough at points but in the end, we finally agreed on these ideas because we realized that these children’s lives are more important than our differing opinions.
Throughout the nightly meeting, we discussed the question of the day, which is, “Why do you think that education is not always accessible to everyone?” Everyone had a lot to say about why education is different everywhere we go but decided it was mainly because of differences in financing education, especially public education. Seeing this school allowed us to relate this to our experiences at home because we realize that we have taken advantage of basic materials and even school subjects, such as textbooks, music, and art because we’re so accustomed our lifestyle. Seeing this school changed our hearts because seeing what school can be like for low-income students in Ecuador has made us grateful for the education we receive even though there are still many differences between our school experiences within the group. Talking about how money depends on whether a school is considered “successful” or not is heart-breaking because if everyone believed that education is important no matter where you are, children everyone would be receiving great, or more improved education. Our group has lots of ideas in store to help out here but also on ways to be more appreciative at home.
The Leaders of the Day, Kirsty and Alexa