Hello friends and family!

Perhaps the smoothest day yet, Day 8 of our magnificent journey through the Ecuadorian lifestyle, culture, and especially food on this day, has been both eye-opening and relaxing. Our Líderes del Día (Leaders of the Day), Kai Brown and Ben Serverian, woke up everybody to the familiar and popular tone of the song Gold Digger, by Kanye West. Organized and ready for the day, the glimpsers took off on yet another immersion into Ecuadorian society. But not before we enjoyed a hearty breakfast, consisting of American classics such as bacon, fried eggs, French toast, and yogurt parfait. Following this absolute obliteration of delicious food, we took the bus to Utopia, a non-profit, organization that encourages healthy and organic product distribution. Leading by example, pushing the national government to promote true and accurate details regarding the contents of the food available for purchase in the cities, following their success in establishing a system of nutritional facts on each food label sold to the public.

To get into detail about the activities that were presented to us at Utopia, first the glimpsers were divided into three groups based on their Global Glimpsd leader and assigned to one of the three stations with a corresponding Utopia leader. One of the stations was centralized around the idea that eating food is an experience that involves all of the five senses. The leader of that station wanted us to realize that the process of consuming food is similar to art or music because it is a beautiful process that should be appreciated. To get this point across, the leader had us try to use three of our senses to determine a specific food product: smell by sniffing multiple covered foods/herbs, touch by reaching our hands into a black mystery box, and taste by giving us various liquids to try to identify, some of which included coffee, an apple instant tea, and MSG water. Moving onto the next station, the leader there explained how in Ecuador there is a plate sectioned off into three different categories, similar to the food pyramid we have in America, although these categories were stuff that: provides us with energy, build us up, and protect us. The final station was a table with various “junk food” products and a scale, where the leader showed us how much sugar is in different products, and the harmful affects you have on your body when you choose to consume these products. After the activities at Utopia, we had lunch at Roma Santa that consisted of a chicken soup, shrimp ceviche, rice, corn, and beets.

After another delicious meal from our generous and delightful cook, Senora Isabela, we rushed back to the hotel in order to prepare our pitches to the directors of Carlos Garbay, a school created to provide education and a healthy lifestyle to disabled and disadvantaged children, as well as the recipient of our CAP, or Community Action Project. A hectic hour of furious preparation, including digging up old clothes or borrowing from friends in order to remain “business casual” despite not having our laundry back quite yet, ensued, however everything came together beautifully. A fantastic presentation, Will Fitch opened it up with confident and powerful words to explain the details of our project, followed by thorough analysis of the plan, from Kevin Schultz and Louis Bolta, as well as excellent financial expectations and layouts from Luisa Taverna and Skyler Spears. After dealing with several clarification questions from our panel, the glimpsers concluded with a successful plan, ready to be carried out with the initial purchases coming tomorrow.

Following the CAP presentation, many of the glimpsers returned to Colegio Nazareno for more English tutoring. While it took a decent amount of time for students to actually show up, the classes were well-taught and fun, as many games and recess activities brought smiles and joy to both Ecuadorian students and glimpsers alike. While this occurred, David and Skyler traveled around Riobamba with our wonderful Program Coordinator, Ana, exploring the options for the supplies, such as paint and garden tools, to purchase tomorrow. Because they worked so well together and were so efficient, Ana had plenty of time to show them the spectacular house of Simón Bolívar, an important historical figure in the history and development, as well as the independence movements in the early nineteenth century of Ecuador. To close up the night on a familiar note, Roma Santa provided us with a meal containing steak, potatoes, broccoli and carrots. Next, the glimpsers jumped into a political discussion that consisted of a melting pot of many intriguing and thought-provoking ideas that our Congressmen should open up their ears to. Lastly, I cannot forget to mention the speed, super speed, and all around card playing epidemic that was jumpstarted by the legend, the one and only, Naomi Nguyen. All in all, it was another wonderful day in the country of Ecuador, surrounded by the beautiful scenery and way or life, surviving another day without our phones and onto the next adventure! That adventure being a Free Day with our new Líderes del Día (Leaders of the Day) Bryn Goedde-Matthews and Bao Hoa Pham, this opens up our first opportunity to explore the city on our own (to agreed upon locations) (in groups of four) (staying within the city) (only traveling on foot) (we’ll be fine). To all of our friends and family reading this at home, we have only love and gratitude to express, and are taking every opportunity we get to grow as individuals and as a family.

Buenas noches, Kai and Ben