Hello everyone! Leaders of the Day Matilda and José here welcoming you all back to another post on our Global Glimpse blog, as well as another opportunity for all of you to follow us on our Ecuadorian adventures! The day started with our second English teaching class at the Aldolfo Kopling school at 7:30am. Just like yesterday, we had two hours of class time where we were able to teach our students new vocabulary words along with playing games with them that would give us the chance to better understand each of their learning techniques and plan ahead for where they might need more support. Seeing all of the kids getting excited when we walk up the steps to their school not only motivates us to be the best teacher we can be, but we have also noticed that it reminds the rest of the Glimpsers why we are here and that our purpose is to make a difference not only in the lives of the children, but to their community and their education.

Today was also our delegations’s first free day, which gave us the chance to explore some of the key locations of Riobamba along with delving deeper into their culture through the different aspects of tourism…and shopping! Throughout the day we split all of our students into three different groups depending upon their interests for the day, and their preferred methods of transportation such as walking, or taking a taxi. We recently learned from our program coordinators that taxi cabs in Ecuador are extremely safe! With this in mind, most of us including myself chose this way of traveling. With our three groups of students, we had one group plan to walk by foot and shop all day long in Plaza Roja, and the different markets and city centers. We also had another group decide to go to an Internet cafe for half the time in order to call friends and family through a pay phone, and then go shopping afterwards. Some of the things that some Glimpsers bought today were ponchos which not only happened to be the name of the alpaca we met during our cleansing ceremony on indigenous people’s day, but also a cultural fashion article that most Glimpsers today found very popular. We also bought some warm clothing such as hats, scarves, and gloves in preparation for our hike up the volcano Chimborazo on Friday! Other things that were bought today on our shopping spree were authentic crystal necklaces, personalized bracelets, and souvenir shirts and sweaters for our friends and family. We were also able to buy snacks and food at some local convenience stores along with French crepes from a market which were delicious! For the second half of our day, the majority of us decided to go to the Internet cafes where we were able to contact our friends and family through a pay phone. I know from the rest of the Glimpsers, and from personal experience, going to these cafes was an emotional experience for all of us. I know that for me, when I heard my mother’s voice for the first time in a while, I cried like a baby in front of everyone. Not only was I comforted by the group, but I realized that along with the immense amount of gratitude that we have for this opportunity, we were all feeling those same range of emotions. Talking to other Glimpsers and hearing that all of their parents were so proud of them, helped us continue and move forward. We all were able to find a new appreciation for our things, our home, and especially our parents. Being in Ecuador for this long has shaped and matured us as well as given us our first real sense of independence. Even though we all got emotional today, we took it as a learning experience to be without our phones, and without the ability to have the world at our fingertips. Instead we stepped into the shoes of some of the people who may not have that privilege, and quickly finding those five cents for an extra five seconds on the phone could be their reality, and maybe even their only option. Things like this, although may be difficult at first, help us as foreigners relate to a country that is quite different from our own. As a delegation we just wanted to say that today really opened our eyes to how other people may live, and in the words of our Glimpsers, “We miss you, and we appreciate you.”

PS. Hi Mom and Dad! It’s Matilda. I’m so sorry that my calls were a little tricky today but just know that I miss you guys like crazy and that I love you so much. And to my best friend in the whole world you know who you are, I cannot wait to see you first when I get back and I love you so much as well. Hope everything is going great over there! See you soon!