Hola a todos! My name is Ella Satterwhite and I am a rising senior at Sequoia High School in Redwood City California.

Our morning started off bright and early at 6:00 am. After I sufficiently woke everybody up with my more than loud knocking, we headed over to Santa Roma where we enjoyed eggs with cilantro and yucca, papaya, and watermelon for breakfast. After breakfast, we headed back to our hotel where we delivered our C.A.P. presentation to some of the administrators from Escuela Martiniano Guerrero Freire. We were very grateful to our native Spanish speakers who were able to deliver the presentation in Spanish. After some feedback from the administrators, we got a good idea of what exactly we will be doing in terms of our mural and garden, and look forward to starting the project.

Around 9:30 am we drove up to Cacha Pucaratambo, where we got to take part in the indigenous Puruhá festival, Inti Raymi. Inti Raymi always takes place on the 21st of June and is a festival honoring the sun god, Inti. The communities that participate give thanks to Inti for all of their blessings and offer themselves to Inti and nature. Once we arrived at the beautiful Cacha Pucaratanbo, atop a mountain overlooking the city of Riobamaba, we headed over to a court where the Inti Raymi festival was taking place. The Puruhá people had laid rose petals around the court along with fruit and other offerings for Inti. Music accompanied the festival as Puruhá speakers thanked everyone for coming. Myself, along with a few other glimpsers were lucky enough to be invited to the inner circle where the ceremony took place. I was touched by the ceremony and how much the Puruhá people were grateful to Inti and all of nature. After music, dancing, and offerings to Inti, we had our lunch where we got to try an Ecuadorian delicacy, Guinea Pig.

In the early evening back at the hotel, we were privileged with meeting a Puruhá speaker, Micaela Lema. Micaela was the former Miss Riobamba and is now the only woman on a city council….so basically she’s famous! Micaela taught us a little bit about the indigenous groups in Ecuador as well as some sayings in the Puruhá tongue, Kichwa. She was incredibly inspiring and multiple of us went to get her autograph afterward.

After a long day, all of us were grateful for the stories, experiences, and new perspectives from the indigenous groups of Ecuador. Until tomorrow, hasta la vista!

P.S. I Miss you lots Mom, Dad, and Ava – sending hugs:)