Today we woke up bright and early to finish our Community Action Project, CAP, at the Carlos Garbay farm. We managed to finish building and painting a guinea pig and rabbit house, paint a sunset mural and the Banos waterfall as well as a landscape with native flowers and butterflies. Even though there was some bickering and miscommunication, we were extremely grateful for this opportunity because it strengthened our bonds with each other and we were able to help a school improve the student’s way of learning.
After our lunch of ham sandwiches and Guanabana juice and relaxing and savoring our hard work, we heard from Mauricio and Wilson, who told us that they were eternally grateful and they knew that our work would improve both their lives and the lives of the students that were enrolled at the school. We thanked them and returned to the hotel. Some people finished their gratitude letters, Sara, our health coach retrieved a giant wooden spoon that we all signed and gave to Cesar, our chef at Nativa, and others went to a supermarket and park nearby for snacks on the long plane rides and stop in between. For our last dinner, we had lemonade, avocado, sunny side up eggs, potatoes, tortillas, and banana cake for dessert. It was very varied, and most, if not all, enjoyed the meal and we cleaned our dishes.
During our nightly meeting, we reminisced on all of the good times that we have had and marveled on how fast the two weeks have gone. It seems like our night in Quito was, “2 years ago, not 2 weeks ago”, as Jeff remarked. All of us agree that, while we have had fun, we are excited to return home to our dogs, phones, friends, food, and family.
A final note from Jeff: This has been an amazing experience for me, made even more so by the wonderful group of people I got to know. These students have made it fun from the very beginning, and they impressed me with what they were able to accomplish when they got down to work. The connections that were made, the feelings that were felt, the things that were learned: all genuine and hopefully long-lasting. My gratitude goes out to all those that made it possible for these students to take this trip, and I’m grateful I was along for the ride. While I am so looking forward to being with my family again and all the comforts of home, it is with sadness that it means this group won’t be together again.