We started off our final day by eating breakfast for the last time at Nativa, indulging in fruits with yogurt, omelettes, and a choice of chocolate milk and tea. Following desayuno (breakfast) we were all invited to Chef Cesar’s uncle’s house on the north side of Riobamba. At the house, we completed a Global Glimpse journey map by responding to the following questions:

1. What are your top five most memorable moments of our journey?
2. What have you learned about yourself throughout the journey?
3. What have you learned about leadership throughout the journey?
4. Who inspired you the most through the journey?

After preparing our journey maps, several students shared their maps aloud to the entire group. Many included our “Deconstructing Poverty” Day and our long day of hiking Mt. Chimborazo as being our most memorable moments! We had the honor of eating lunch at Cesar’s uncle’s house that included hamburgers, papas fritas, and tres leche cake. All we can say is that it was muy delicioso!

Then we continued the morning with an activity called “Start, Stop, and Continue” outside the house. The purpose of this activity was to have us go around to the three stations to write down what we’d like to see ourselves start doing in the future; what we’d like to continue doing; and what we’d like to stop all together based on what we learned these past 16 days with our peers. Then we went around after everyone was done to review the paper to see everyone’s thoughts.

We then moved on to our final activity where we sat outside on the ground in a circle to share out our big love for each other. But, today was a little different, instead of saying out loud like we usually do at the end of each night in the meeting room at Hotel Mashany, we had to write our name down in the middle of a sheet of paper and pass it to the person to the right of us. We wrote down our appreciation for each person in the group based on what we’ve observed from the past 16 days of our trip within 30 seconds and we did this until we received our paper back. As we read every note of gratitude from our peers we began to feel some mixed emotions given that today was our last day together before heading to the airport.

Following lunch, Cesar surprised us with four traditional Ecuadorian dancers in the backyard. They performed two traditional dances and allowed us to join in. Afterwards we decided to teach them dances too, including the “Cha-Cha slide”, the “Wobble”, and we ended by doing the “Macarena.”

These past 16 days have been full of eye-opening, “cow-milking” (our group’s phrase for stepping out of our comfort zone), and lens-widening experiences. We’re so grateful to have been a part of such an amazing group of leaders. We left our mark on Ecuador and we will forever remember this experience! Thank you all for following our blogs and for continuing to support us. We deeply appreciate it. Adios!

Danielle Nolen, North Lawndale College Prep
Ben Dweh, Lawrence University