Hola Familia!

Today, Glimpsers learned that even free days can be an enlightening, adventure-filled experience. We had a fun day with lots of sudden schedule changes, activities, and most importantly, group bonding. We began this morning with a beautiful breakfast, undoubtedly the best one yet. With delicious empanadas, fried eggs, sweet watermelon, and a hearty white tomato juice, our group was definitely ready to travel and explore. The first half of the day was dedicated to exploring the city of Riobamba: we split into three different groups. The first group visited the beautiful local church to attend Mass and learn from the culture and practices of the locals. The church was beautiful, with beautiful stained glass windows and gold adorning the altar. We were also able to say the prayers in Spanish because we were able to follow the program that they gave us. The other two groups alternated between shopping for souvenirs and visiting the internet café. A beautiful train station awaited us with a mixture of gorgeous scenic views of the mountains and handcrafted souvenirs like bracelets, paintings, instruments, and jewelry. We then visited the internet café, checking our emails and calling/messaging loved ones. It was a beautiful and heartwarming experience for everyone as we updated parents on the friends we made and the adventures we had.

After heartfelt conversations with family and a chance to check Instagram the whole group headed over to lunch. We had local beans, rice and pork that was paired with a fresh avocado salad. After this we kicked the second half of the day off by stopping in at a barber shop down the road. Ms. Rodriguez asked the Glimpsers to come and support her in cutting her hair. Recently, her brother, Emanuel, has been diagnosed with cancer and her whole family decided to cut their hair today to support him in his chemotherapy. Since she was here in Ecuador with us we all got to be involved by cutting her hair before the barber shaved it into something more appropriate. The whole group appreciated the opportunity to be involved in something so personal and powerful. Our thoughts are with Emanuel and we look forward to supporting him in his journey.

The day continued as we took a trip downtown where we got a chance to stop for crepes, coffee, and donuts. The most popular choice was Nutella, bananas, strawberries and ice cream. Everyone was excited for the sweet treat and a taste of home. After we got our food we were lucky enough to catch the view of the train coming into the station. Another group went down to the downtown strip of Riobamba, where we were able to experience the local park and playground as well as see the many murals of the city. For the next experience of our free day, the Glimpsers regrouped at the Hotel Tren Dorado in order to catch taxis to go to a beautiful Ecological Park that Gerry recommended for us. The taxis were an unexpected adventure for all of us, as some of the taxis had trouble finding this hidden treasure of a park. After finally getting there, we started on our hike down to the park while viewing the luscious green fields and towering trees of Ecuador. Additionally, a couple of the boys (and Ms. Rodriguez!) organized a run down the trail, where they quickly ran out of breath, not because of their athletic ability, but because of the high altitude (or so they say…). Once we arrived at the park and soccer fields, many students took part in a high-intensity soccer game, where the team of Ben, Louis, Kai, Shreysi, Luisa, Nancy, and David won against the team of Kevin, Alyssa, Becky, Skyler, Clifford, Victor, and Zach. However, everyone agreed that the star player of the game was Nancy L., with her good moves and enthusiasm. The other students got a chance to enjoy the view, take many pictures, and play cards with each other, as well as visit the dog shelter nearby. Near dinnertime, we walked back and got a second chance to view the several sheep and cows that were grazing on the fields of beautiful Riobamba.


After catching a beautiful sunset while walking to Roma Santa, we ended the day off with a delicious meal created by Chef Isabella- chicken soup, broccoli, an Ecuadorean twist on mashed potatoes, as well as cooked bananas and strawberry juice. We were also able to talk with our English tutoring groups at dinner in order to prepare for our first English tutoring session tomorrow. We came back to Hotel Tren Dorado for our nightly meeting, where we handed off the leadership torch to our new Lider del Dias, Zach and David, who respectively performed a passionate song of “Cold Feets” and taught the group various Arabic words. It was a great way to finish off our wonderful first free day!


All of us are missing our parents a lot, and want to let you all know that we are having so much fun and are safe. Love you lots!!




Shreysi, Skyler, and Luisa