Like the last two days, we woke up at 6:25 AM. After a late start to our morning, we finally made it to our penultimate breakfast at the amazing La Estancia. After eating, we made our way to the bus where we took our last ride to Escuela F.A.E. This was our third and final day of the CAP (Community Action Project) so we knew we had to work hard and make it count. As soon as we arrived, everyone scattered and got right to work alongside the eager students and staff at F.A.E.  We still had nets to weave for volleyball and soccer, as well as a soccer field to touch up, a tire mountain to build, tetherball to set up, and a swing set and slide to install. There was a lot to do, so we knew there was no time to stand around. The tire mountain group got dirty, mixing mud and stacking tires, while a group of people grabbed rope and started tackling the nets. It took a while and a few redos, but we got it done. Shoutout to Noble for taking charge of the volleyball net with his excellent knot skills, and the soccer group for improvising when they ran out of rope. When 10:00 arrived, so did Marco with the swing set and slide. A group of strong people helped carry them up the stairs and got to work right away installing and securing it. We then had a group of people from the recently completed mountain team paint them to match the colorful personality of the school. Meanwhile, the tetherball group improvised when they didn’t have an actual tetherball and finished setting it up just as the bus was about to pull away. The staff at the school were very kind for giving us gifts for completing the project. But finishing wasn’t the most satisfying part: that was seeing the expressions on the teachers and students’ faces.

After our bus ride back to the hotel, we scrambled to get ready for English tutoring with semi-functioning showers. Most people were exhausted after a long morning of working on our CAP, but we managed to make ourselves presentable in time for our tutoring and walked to Verbo Divino by 4:00. It was our fifth and final day of tutoring, which was emotional for many of us. Luckily, we still managed to have a lot of fun, as most people took their classes outside to play for the last day.

We stopped at a chocolate store called Salinaterio when walking back to Hotel Palacio. Given the small size of the store, it took a long time for everyone to buy their chocolate, and we ended up with only ten minutes before we had to walk back to La Estancia for our final dinner there. As we walked in the door, we were greeted by balloons and our hostess, Ana, dressed up for Mary’s birthday! We had our delicious dinner, and then the cakes were brought out. We sang to Mary and had her blow out her candles. Margarita then told her to take the first bite of cake, and when she leaned down Margarita pushed her face into the cake! It was expected but still funny for everyone. We all got two pieces of cake and cleared out the tables to dance. The highlight of the evening was Marco showing us how to dance to a Spanish song. But the evening wasn’t over, because Marco then brought out the piñata. Mary, blindfolded, knocked it down on her first try, leaving everyone to lunge for candy. Our leaders said we looked like a pack of animals. We then finished up the party with a traditional dance Ana showed us, and headed back to the hotel. Back at Hotel Palacio, we had our final nightly meeting, which was again very emotional. Our word for our unity clap was family, as we’ve all become so close over the course of the trip. For our final night here, Marco and Margarita gave us the gift of a movie night.

Reflection and Analysis: Today was challenging, but deeply fulfilling. Finishing the Community Action Project was possibly the most satisfying and fulfilling part of our trip. It feels amazing to be able to leave something behind for the community, especially a project as ambitious as ours was. Today we showed that we are capable of working harder than ever before, but we couldn’t have done it without the teamwork of all the glimpsers, staff, F.A.E students, and community members. It’s amazing what so many people can do when they’re committed. After all, how many people can say they’ve built an entire playground? But equally fulfilling was completing the last day of English tutoring, and knowing that our students will continue to learn with the next group of glimpsers. It was sad to say goodbye to all the students at F.A.E. and Verbo Divino, but we know that we left a positive impact on them.

Our trip comes to an end tomorrow as we will be heading back to the Quito airport a little after lunch, but everything we’ve learned and done here will stay with us forever. We know that we’ve left our mark on the community, and they’ve also left their mark on us.

Big Love,

Kacia Kinsmith
Greenfield High School

Sage Cronen-Townsend
Greenfield High School