We had our first full day on site, recharged after sleep and we headed to Roma Santa, our food provider for desayuno, courtesy of Mama Isabel. We ate scrambled eggs, empanadas de queso, yogurt, and fresh fruit. Afterward, we returned to our home here in Riobamba– Tren Dorado– for the first of our program seminar series. We learned about Ecuadorian culture and history, and reviewed safety policies and procedures for when we venture into town. Immediately after, we split into groups for a scavenger hunt competition that highlighted some of the major historical sites of the city center. As the Glimpsers explored the city (with an adult chaperone of course), they put their Spanish skills to use and embraced their sense of adventure by talking to locals to find answers to the questions prepared by the Program Coordinators.
Through the scavenger hunt, the students were able to think about the question of the day, “What has been the importance of Riobamba throughout Ecuador’s history? How does history shape people’s identities?” We reconvened in Plaza de Roja and had a friendly but competitive group showdown. In the end, we were all winners because we all engaged fully and pushed through insecurities while simultaneously learning about our home for the next two weeks.
We returned to Roma Santa for an amazing lunch of camarones, arroz, yuca, y platanos. Mama Isabel prepared an extra special surprise with the help of Jerry and Ana, and served helado for dessert! The students are forming a heartwarming relationship with Mama Isabel and her son Nelson. After they finished eating, some students played card games together in the dining room while others stepped outside into the courtyard to play foosball or basketball with Nelson.
We returned to Tren Dorado for the seminar on English Tutoring. Students were assigned groups and started lesson planning for the first English Tutoring classes on Monday.
At dinner, the students put together a special surprise celebration for our only Glimpser who will be celebrating a birthday here in Ecuador, Ben. Mama Isabel provided two yummy homemade cakes and students purchased balloons, poppers, a hat and a card for the occasion. It was so amazing to see the strong community the students have built in such a short amount of time, and Ben shared how humbled and honored he felt by the outpouring of love during our nightly meeting.
During the nightly meeting, we passed the torch to our first students Lideres del
Dia, Clifford and Victor. They facilitated a great warm up discussion to prepare us for tomorrow’s theme: Deconstructing Poverty. We were blown away by their thoughtful questions and the Glimpsers’ profound responses. Our Program Coordinator Ana challenged us to reconsider our perceptions and the traditional definition of poverty. We are confident that tomorrow will be an impactful day.
After the meeting, we had some free time during which we were able to catch the third and fourth quarters of the Warriors’ historic sweep on the only operational television in the entire hotel. We were able to accommodate all the students who wanted to root for the Dubs around a laptop-sized screen and cheered when they were crowned “Campeones de la NBA 2018!”
We appreciate all the comments left on the blog and the Glimpsers feel incredibly connected to all of you back home when we read them as a group. Please keep the love coming! They are excited to read your special messages of encouragement, but are even more excited to hopefully hear your voices when they have the opportunity to call home on Sunday during their Free Day.
Tomorrow you’ll hear from the first student Leader’s of the Day when they take over the blog, stay tuned and GO WARRIORS!!!
The GGL Squad (Marylin, Jeanne, and Cyndi)