Hi everyone!  Our names are Tanveer, Kat, and Shireen, and we were the leaders of the day today!

Today was Live Like A Local Day and experiencing the workload of the “average” Ecuadorian was a truly eye-opening experience. We traveled about an hour from Guaranda down to the community of San Juan de Llullundongo. Going into this enlightening process, our group was given a question to be upheld throughout the day: “What does happiness mean to you?” Although provided with many challenges throughout the day, the group was always able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, whether that be the beautiful smile on the workers’ faces when the bricks came out perfect or the excitement of perfectly consisted mud after the group constantly was found falling in it. As Steph said, “ Embrace the experience and don’t be afraid to get a little dirty!”

Starting off the day with breakfast on the go, we were excited to participate in a minga, a communal work gathering. Once we arrived, we were introduced to Angel, our project leader for the day. He showed us how to shovel dirt and pour water to formulate a mud mixture to be packed into molds for the adobe bricks. Although the beating sun, altitude, and hard labor took a toll on our motivation to complete the task, we were able to come together as a family to make the community of San Juan de Llullundongo proud. At the end of the work session, we were able to construct approximately 140 adobe blocks. Through our combined efforts with the previous delegation, we produced enough bricks to build one half of their projected design.

Through beating the dry earth, to dancing in the mud, and to filling in the adobe molds we were able to exhibit courage, compassion, and commitment.  Courage: this came from all of the glimpsers keeping an open mind and being willing to get their hands and feet dirty in the hot sun.  Compassion: through listening to Angel’s words of wisdom and being there for one and other when the day got hotter and the mud got heavier. Commitment: coming from the group’s effort as a whole to strive for the greatest amount of success and happiness. These three components embodied the group’s work ethic and experience today.

The reflection process after unleashed the ideal of transformation engaged in the group. We realized that poverty and happiness really had no connection. The human mentality of connecting the rich with eternal happiness and success and the assumption that poverty causes sadness and depression was demolished in the eyes of the glimpsers today. We found ourselves concurring into unison that the privileged lifestyle we live is being taken for granted. The abundance of water, exasperating number of technological advances and populated areas are no comparison to the experience, confined by happiness, we dealt with today in Llullundongo.

Click here for a video of breaking up the clumps of dirt.

Click here for a video of the final step of the adobe making.