This morning as us Glimpsers woke up, we sadly realized it was our last full day in Riobamba, Ecuador before we travel back to Quito tomorrow afternoon and head back to Chicago, Philly, and Boston. However, as we continued on our day, we were very excited to travel to our daily activity.

Today’s activity consisted of visiting COPROBICH (Corporation of Organic Producers and Traders Bio Chimborazo). This corporation is a fair trade business meaning they offer a fair system for their workers. Such examples include: paying everyone the same amount, regardless of gender, paying for a fellow co-worker’s family member’s funeral, and providing them with healthcare benefits. Not only is COPROBICH a fair trade business but they are also an organic corporation who makes their main export, quinoa, naturally. No chemicals, no preservatives, all-natural from the farm that they harvest on their land. And how did us Glimpsers find out all this fantastic information about the main production of the COPROBICH? We got to take a breathtaking tour, given by the president of the corporation to the fields where quinoa is harvested through the months of May, June, and July. Not only did we see the fields that consisted of acres of colorful plants that contained little seeds of quinoa inside the plants; we also received a tour of the factory, given by the accountant who was able to show us the machines used to determine whether a quinoa is pure enough to be packaged or not. By us purchasing their fair trade quinoa products, we are able to make a positive impact by supporting farmers to receive higher wages and to have better working conditions.

Language is not the only way to form bonds with others. This is a lesson many of us learned recently in our 7 days of tutoring local children in English. From the beginning of our teaching journey, many of us experienced frustration, happiness and satisfaction. Bumps along the road were expected from the very start but what we did not realize at first was lesson plans would not always go as planned. That is because some of us had students who had trouble focusing, some of us had children with no English experience, some of us had extremely shy children. We all had different students, which made us become more flexible with our teaching styles but also even more motivated to teach our students. We discovered that making lessons highly interactive with the students made it easier for them to digest the large lessons we taught. As we finally found our footing in teaching, we sadly were coming to our end in Riobamba and finished our last class with fiestas this afternoon. Some of us had music and played musical chairs, while others finished class with personal conversations about their lives. Engulfed with chaos, hugs, and kisses, our delegation found ourselves feeling overwhelmed with sadness, as we had to let go of our students. Many Glimpsers formed special connections in this short time because of the dedication and work they put into caring for the students’ education and well-being. Letting go is not always easy but us Glimpsers know that these bonds formed are not breaking rather they are just molding into a new force behind them.

For our nightly meeting, our delegation watched an insightful TED talk called, “The Danger of a Single Story” by a Nigerian novelist named Chimamanda Nguzi Adichie. Adichie’s TED talk revolved around the negatives of only knowing one side of a story. As we watched the TED talk, we found connections between the TED talk and our recent activities. We found that the 3 significant events that shaped our identity on the life map activity we did early on the trip related to us not fully understanding an individual until you hear the whole story from them or are educated about it. We also found that our entire trip was founded on the basis that we are fed information through life that we do not know if it is the complete story. For example in small groups today, we learned that some individuals actually made assumptions about Riobamba before visiting.

As the day came to an end, so did our leadership duties. Being LDD (Líder del Día) is not an easy job but it is definitely a day for learning and improvement. As leaders, we were both surprised to experience how challenging it was to keep our peers maintain high spirits to push through this tiring day as we struggled to stay in high spirits ourselves.

However as LDDs, we both learned that as a leader the key to keep your peers motivated is to never show the face of defeat; even when your Global Glimpse Leaders show you the 15 day, bittersweet, memories on a slideshow they put together as a surprise to wrap up our day. This trip has not only taught us the beauty behind another culture, but it has also showed us the beauty of becoming a family and the strength we all have as one. #LaFamiliaForever

Leila Marquez – Pritzker College Prep

Jane Joncha – Lindblom Math and Science Academy