“Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.” – Nelson Mandela
Welcome back everyone to the blog, brought to you by today’s leaders Michael and Ruby.
After consecutive mornings of waking up bright and early to tutor our students, today we were provided with a later wake up time of 8:00. Having the morning available for the first time in a few days allowed us to have a morning meeting/mental warm up regarding the day’s activity of deconstructing poverty (name changed to Social Injustice). We spoke about the state of poverty back home in America, the gap between socioeconomic classes, and cultures that perpetuate stereotypes and stigmas about poverty in the United States and around the world.
We worked with an organization here in Riobamba called “Manitos Trabajadoras” who help the children that work out on the streets. This is a family run organization fueled by the idea that children should remain children for as long as possible. These children range from ages 4 to 16; the younger children assist their moms when shopping and the older children work most of the day. The organization assists the kids by helping them in schools, taking them on trips, giving them meals every Saturday, and on holidays, providing them with gifts. Most importantly, Manitos Trabjadoras shows these kids, who are constantly ignored, the compassion, love, and knowledge that they are not invisible.
The Glimpsers stepped in the shoes of these children for a day, helping them sell cotton candy, toys, snacks, and shine shoes. Through spending hours with these children (and shedding a few tears before leaving), we Glimpsers have most certainly gained a new found and further developed appreciation for what we all have back in America, and have made it our goals to set aside our assumptions about poverty in order to strive for creating a better community back home.
After the emotionally draining activities from the morning/afternoon, the Glimpsers headed back to the hotel to prepare for the CAP (Community Action Project) panel presentations with three representatives from the school we are partnered with. Glimpsers shared their ideas of painting murals, repainting sections of the school, and cleaning and renovating the bathrooms. All of these ideas were well received and the three representatives from the school demonstrated a great appreciation and lots of enthusiasm for our thoughtful preparation for making their school a better environment for them and their students.
As usual, dinner followed afterwards, our nightly meeting, which consisted of ups and downs about the day along with passing the torch to the new leaders, big love shoutouts to everyone and finally a unity clap with the word “humanity.”