Question of the day: Why is it important to maintain culture and how could some of these philosophies and traditions help to create a better world?

Getting ready for the day by going over the food for thought.

Today we went to meet a healer, named Adan Angull, who showed us around his land, and taught us about the different plants he uses to heal people and what they represent in his culture.

We got the chance to do a spiritual ritual as a grupo to connect with our family and with our ancestors. He performed spiritual cleanse on many of us, which involved using special herb to brush different parts of the body, as well as tapping on the body, and breathing on the leaves. This is done to release negative energies and help the soul feel free. Many of the students felt relieved afterwards and felt like it made a difference in their chacras-inner energies. Anahi described it like she had been wearing a heavy backpack and he suddenly took it off.  

Preparing for the ceremony.


Sending love to our families!

Serena doing the cleansing ritual.

While students were being cleansed, others were taking pictures and relaxing by the river. Later, we got a chance to sit down and really talk to Adan about why he heals and what’s really important to him in his culture. He told us that he had been healing his entire life. It was what his parents did, and that it’s important to him to continue that tradition within his family. Adan plans on teaching his wife and children how to heal as well. He also shared that his favorite part about being a healer is that he gets to help others and that healing is different and more effective then Western medications because sometime it’s the soul that needs fixing in order to heal the physical body. He then played a Andean flute which he said is used to make people feel happy and get people to dance. We ended our experience with Adan by giving him a gift that he really enjoyed, taking pictures and a short hike back to the bus. All in all, it was a very special and personal experience for us.  

Alexis by the river!


After gathering a taste of culture through our encounter with Adan Angulo, we took a step even further into the plentiful cultures Guaranda has to offer through a visit to La Guilena. Our visit to La Guilena began with a delicious meal prepared by the owners Maria Dolores Charvez-Larrea and Raquel Larrea. The meal consisted of tradition carnaval cuisine, tying into our question of the day surrounding the significance of culture. After a tasty lunch with Maria Dolores, we dove deeper into our cultural experience by creating masks similar to the ones worn during Guaranda’s Carnaval. The mask plays a key role in carnaval culture, so throughout the day this served as a great way to remind us about indigenous traditions. The masks were a great way for us to not only show off our artistic skills and talents, but also to introduce to the group a taster of our individuality.

All of our masks!

Destiny serving hot chocolate!

 After indulging in a tasty traditional meal from Maria, enjoying some delicious hot chocolate made from three types of chocolate, and creating our masks, we had a water fight! This was a quick way for us relax and bond as a group in the spirit of the carnivale. Many of us expressed later in the day how much we were able to bond through this activity.

After drying off from the water fight, we were greeted by Tayta Carnaval. The music and traditions shared with us from the Tayta lead to many joyful laughs and memories shared between us as we danced throughout La Guilena.

After returning from the last activity, we were given free time, during which many students met in the meeting room to play uno and sing songs together. After free time, we played a game to get our minds focused, where we had to count to 21 as a group, and if two people said the same number we had to start over. We sadly only made it to 17, but we continued to practice throughout the evening. After getting our minds focused, we had a quick meeting about our Community Action Project, which we will further work on throughout the trip. We then all went to dinner. After dinner, many students went to the supermarket where we were able to get any snacks or small items that students needed. On the walk back to the hostel, we were greeted by a group of dogs that were very friendly (again no one is a allowed to touch them; we can only look and aww).  We also met a group of tourists that were from California, and it was very exciting to finally see other tourists. After returning to the hostel, we did our nightly meeting, and went over lesson plans for English tutoring that starts tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Today was a very impactful day full of eye opening information and really cool experiences, and we are ready for more days like it!


Destiny and Faith