When our Global Glimpse Leader asked us to draw a picture of what we imagined poverty to look like, we all imagined different scenarios. Most people envisioned some version of a farming family, struggling to make ends meet. Others imagined more urban settings. However, the vast majority of our drawings had one thing in common: all of the poor people depicted were adults. We did not consider what poverty meant for the lives of children, and that made it all the more heart-wrenching to arrive at la Parque Maldonado to see half a dozen children, ranging in age from six to sixteen, dressed in clothes dirtier than any I’ve seen, and about to start their jobs for the day. Spending a little over an hour with these children was a transformative experience for us all. For me, sitting at a shoeshine station with Kenny (age 14) and his brother Steven (age 11) taught me to be grateful for what I have. When Kenny took me to meet his father, I realized how hard it is to escape poverty, and it saddened me to see the cycle of poverty, with Kenny, Steven, and their father shining shoes side by side. I also realized just how fortunate I am to have the opportunities that I have been granted, and how much of a waste it is to not make the most of them. At the same time, we were able to see the ways that people in poverty are able to still keep smiling. For Kenny and Steven, it was the bike they got from Wambra Bici, a company that provides lunch and a place to meet others for child street workers. Their strength and ability to keep laughing at the end of the day was a huge inspiration to me, and I resolved to stop complaining about things that seem so insignificant in comparison.
Being El Lider del Dia (ELDD) was an important experience for me. I am someone who occasionally struggles with time management, but the ELDD is in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly, from making sure people go to bed on time, to waking them up, to making sure everyone has everything ready in time for the bus. It is a large challenge, but the leadership skills learned are a huge plus, regardless of future field. I put 100% into it, and since we were on time all of today, I can call my day as ELDD a success. I also learned that I am capable of much more than I think, if I’m willing to put myself out there.
Good Night From Riobamba,
PS. You have probably heard about the earthquake that struck Ecuador last night. Since the tremors were largely at the coast, we did not feel them at all in Riobamba, but I ask you to keep the people that were affected in your hearts and your prayers. Thank you.
Dear Mom, Dad, Adhyr and Aida, I’m doing really well, and I’m learning a lot. I think of you a lot, and I’m glad that I get this opportunity to tell you that I’m okay and having a lot of fun. I love you. Sincerely, Roby
I love you. I miss you guys and thanks Saraya for the love. – Sara
I’m okay, and everything is fine. I love and miss you so much. – Tishiya
Don’t worry. I’m fine and I’m having so much fun. I love you and I miss you so much. -Ayanna
Hi guys! We’re completely fine. I love you and miss you guys so much. This trip is absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to tell you about it. -Cara
Aio Mom, I am okay and will be alright. “c” you soon. -Leo
Mom and Dad, I’m good and the trip here is great. I’ll be back on the 24th, don’t worry about me. -Da Fu
Hey mom! I’m good. Check the blog more if you read this. -Malik
Hey Mom, I’m fine, I am enjoying my time here and today was probably the best day of my life. -Ronald
Hi Mom, Dad, and Neha, I am doing great! I’m having a great time! I can’t wait to talk to you. -Rishi
Hi Mom and Dad! Everything here is going super well! I love you and I’m having a great time. Can’t wait to see you and tell you about it! Alex