Hola Familia y amigos! It’s Jordan and Lupe signing in, and we were the LDDs (Lider Del Dia, or Leader of the Day) for today.

This morning, we had to wake everyone up bright and early at 6:30 (the earliest so far). Because we both knew we’d be waking everyone up early, we made notes for all of our other Glimpsers reminding each one of them to let their unique qualities get them through the day. It was super cold and wet in Riobamba, but we took our normal walk to cafe “Nativa” at 7 to have some delicious omelets, fruit salad, toasted bread with grape jam, hot chocolate, and tea. After breakfast, we loaded on the bus for our trip of the day to Banos de Agua Santa, also known as Pailon del Diablo which is a ginormous waterfall, often referred to as the entrance to the Amazon Rainforest. After a two-hour bus ride seeing farms, mountains and other great vistas, we followed the manmade trail along the rapids and up hilly, rocky terrain to get to the waterfall, where we had a good photo shoot.

Everyone was breath-taken by the beauty of the waterfall and the walk on the bridge where we could see for miles and miles.

Around 11, we headed to a restaurant in the city of Banos called “D’Antonio’s” where we had tuna salad, cream of broccoli soup (which was nice because about half of us are coming down with a cold or some type of problem), rosemary chicken, rice and salad. After getting caught in the rain, we went to a local park and split into groups where we explored the city for about an hour, where many people bought gifts for their secret friend (like Secret Santa) and other souvenirs and treats. We headed back on the bus and arrived back to the hotel around 4:30, where we changed into our business casual and prepped for English Tutoring Day 4. Around 5:30 was dinner at Nativa, where Cesar once again didn’t disappoint with cream of mushroom soup, chicken stew, rice, passionfruit juice and cookies for dessert.

Then, we got on the bus to head to Colegio Maldonado (the school we teach at) for day 4 of English tutoring, which is always interesting, especially after a long day like today. We then headed back home (singing karaoke on the bus like always, shoutout to Don Alonzo our amazing driver for letting us) and gathered in the cafeteria for our nightly meeting where we discussed the question of the day (Do you think it’s possible to have sustainable tourism in a developing world? How and what are the challenges?) and passed the torch to the next LDD.

As the leaders of the day, both of us agree that it was kind of hard to manage our 18 peers as well as participate and reflect ourselves, but it was rewarding and eye-opening practice for us to learn how to lead. From water drinking reminders to crossing the BUSY streets, every activity showed us what is needed to lead a group. Although the day was long and busy, we all learned a lot, worked together, bonded and discovered new ideas in Banos which took us out of our everyday lives and views in Chicago. We appreciated the respect our peers gave us today and feedback and we also thank GG for the opportunity to let us travel and for exposing us to such a beautiful country.

To everyone back home, WE ALL MISS YOU SO MUCH and can’t wait to tell you about everything we’ve seen and shown you more pictures. Keep commenting (Senor Najera lets us know) and stay updated with the blog, but we’re all having a great time.

Special shoutout to my mom and dad (Keesha and Jaye), I miss you and I’ll call soon guys! – Jordan

Special Shoutout to my family (Mom, Dad, Fatima, Diego, Fabian, and my Canelo). Los extrano y los quiero mucho, les hablo pronto para contarles todas mis aventuras aqui! I love you you guys! – Lupe