Hola familias y amigos!! This is Clarisse and Nancy and we had the honor of being Day 11’s Líderes del Día (Leaders of the Day). Today we got to experience how it is to live like locals in the Nabuso community. We traveled up the Andes Mountains in an hour long bus ride to meet and learn about the different experiences that the community members have faced. The Nabuso community is a small rural town located in a valley. The bus ride really allowed us to indulge ourselves in nature, not typical in the busy buzzing cities of California. We got to see breathtaking sights such as the Rio Blanco River and along that we also got to see many plantations and farm animals. Upon arriving, we were in awe about how different the town is compared to Riobamba because of how spread apart the houses were. In addition, the houses there were simple but more than enough for the community members.

Upon arrival, Charito, the community leader, greeted us with breakfast. Charito is one of the survivors of the 1999 Tungurahua Volcano eruption which severely damaged her hometown, Puela. Charito and her neighbors were forced to move to a town an hour away. Her experience inspired her to strive for economic independence with different projects within the community. Charito had a tough time adjusting to her new life for the next couple of years, because of the debt that came after losing her home. However, with her son’s help, she was able to surpass the challenges she faced as she worked her way to a new beginning. Today, Charito proudly welcomes everyone to her new home in Penipe, Riobamba.

After breakfast, we split into three groups. The first group went to Marta’s mother’s house, another Nabuso community member.  A season or two ago, her mother grew Alfalfa and potatoes on the land right next to her home but today, we helped them level the land so that they can start growing the grass they use to feed their Guinea pigs. Guinea pigs, one way they make money, are sold in the city every weekend. Sadly, we weren’t able to meet most of the community members because tomorrow, being father’s day, most of them went to the city to sell their products in order to buy the fathers a gift. The second group went to Marta’s husbands house. They were also expected to level the land the land right next to their home. Marta’s husband owned chickens which Will and a few others were able to pick it up. Half-way into the activity, both groups decided to switch (not knowing that we were doing the same thing). Leveling the land was much harder than any of us imagined but we were all very proud of the outcome. 

The third group went further down to the mountain side. We helped the community members remove the weeds and plants growing into the road to help clear a path for the machines to even out the road. The community members used machetes and hoes to chop off the plants while we threw them down the hill. We all worked together pulling out the plants and lifting up the rocks. This activity gave us an idea of what it is like to do work that we normally don’t do back at home. There were many bugs and it was dirty, but that didn’t stop us from working together to get the job done. Seeing us collaborating with one another helped us realize one of the main components of being a glimpser. 

 Afterwards, we hiked back to Charito’s house for lunch where we were served with chicken, rice, potatoes, corn, and fruit juice. The food was simple, but delicious after a long day of work. The chicken was cooked to perfection and the rice was topped with a spicy salsa. After lunch, Charito told us her story and how she was able to overcome the struggles that came alongside it. Her story inspired RB1A to no matter how bad life may get, as long as we work hard, we can create something even more beautiful than what we may have had before. Even though the Nabuso community may not have the same opportunities as people living in the cities, they still were happy as any other person.

We then headed back to the hotel for an hour of free time and then around 4:45, we held group discussions reflecting about today’s activities. Afterwards, we had dinner at Roma Santa. Tonight, Mama Isabel’s menu consisted of pizza, broccoli, and Coca Cola, giving us a little taste of home. At our nightly meeting, the leadership torch was handed off to Louis and Aaron after presenting their talents. Louis performed a bunch of difference accents and Aaron juggled apples that were supposed to be tomorrow’s snacks. Today was an amazing day for all of us and we cannot wait to see Aaron and Louis do a fantastic job leading our team for tomorrow’s hike up the Chimborazo Volcano.

Hasta pronto, Clarisse y Nancy