As our trip comes to an end, we woke up to experience our second free day. During our free day we had a lot of free time to explore the city of Riobamba. Some of you may know that this is not completely a leisure trip but an opportunity to help the community we have now been living in for almost two weeks. Days ago we learned that the organization we would be working with is Casa de La Mujer (The house of Women). This inspiring organization exists to bring in abused women who have experienced domestic violence and the harsh inequality that sometimes exist between men and women in Ecuador. There are many essential benefits that the organization provides for women and their children. Women can seek shelter, get professional help from a lawyer or psychologist, there are even sessions where women can bring their creativity to life through the arts and crafts. Casa de La Mujer even provides men with support. All are welcome!
The fourteen of us Glimpsers (with the help of our leaders) came up with an action project to help bring more life to Casa de La Mujer. Being leader of today I knew I had my work cut out for me. However, I was very excited to be taking charge of an important day and learning more about my friends. For the first scheduled free time I led the group from our hostel to Casa de La Mujer (I used a map for the first time!); gaining confidence I had even higher hopes for the day. When we arrived we greeted the lead of the organization and took a short tour to scope the place out. We looked like detectives as we took picture of ceilings, floors, and walls to determine what work laid ahead of us.
Leaving Casa de La Mujer, Azucena (one of the leaders for the organization) was kind enough to leave us with a departing treat (FLAN!) Heading on the bus everybody was excited to buy materials and start the project already. We all had a united vision and were eager to make it come true.
I’m not going to lie, the whole day wasn’t peachy clean. Some challenges I had included not being able to speak Spanish. I felt as if I couldn’t take full control of my leadership role if I didn’t know how to communicate with the community members. However, I did get my friend Amy to help me translate. This helped me realize that being a leader meant knowing when you had to step back and accept help. Another challenge was getting my friends to listen at times. Everyone’s energy was over the roof and I didn’t know how to contain it while making progress with our project. A plus of the day was that it was our very own Glimpser’s birthday, Gianni. We were happy to celebrate his born day, as we called it.
Today has been very educational for me because I have learned a lot about my peers and myself. I now know little things about my friends like how they like to wake up and how to get them to listen. It was tiresome but as the people of Ecuador like to believe, you don’t dwell and regret at the past you cherish it and live in the future.
All in all, I am very thankful for this opportunity and the people I shared it with, they made it a learning experience and a memory I will never forget.
In the car after visiting Casa de La Mujer, eating flan and living off each other’s energy!
With the families of Casa de La Mujer that we will be spending the next few days with.
The birthday boy Gianni, he’s finally 17. We surprised him with a cake. It was a great moment, we were happy that he was happy.
Signing Off, Marita! 🙂