Last summer I went to Ecuador.
Guaranda, to be exact.
High in the Andes, 9,000 ft above the sea,
A new experience in every shape and form.
This is a tribute to my trip.
Chimborazo, Lord Ice Breath
Stands guard over the towns and farms.
Rolling hills of green, tamed by skilled hands,
Surrounds the city of seven hills.
Sheep and cows graze in yards that line the road,
As buses twist and turn through narrow streets,
picking people up as they go.
Spanish architecture interspersed with newer buildings,
all built on breathtaking hills.
That’s what I saw in Ecuador.
Eating traditional carnival food;
Pork, Ecuadorian tamales, roasted corn kernels,
empanadas, a sweet corn drink, and plantains.
Traditional Helado de Salcedo,
Sampling layers of refreshing milk, blackberry,
naranjilla, and banana passionfruit flavored ice cream.
My first bite of guinea pig,
crunchy in texture and similar to duck.
And my new favorite fruit, the granadilla,
Sweet and mild, part of the passion fruit family.
That’s what I tasted in Ecuador.
Touring Guaranda and learning of its history.
Experiencing Carnival traditions,
A flour and water war to welcome guests.
Breathless and in awe of its majesty.
Working with the locals to plant beans and potatoes,
And struggling to milk their cow.
Teaching English, painting school steps and building bookshelves.
Playing Uno with my delegation in the Marquez family hotel.
That’s what I did in Ecuador.
A curandero, keeping the indigenous art of healing alive,
Generations of families, tending to their crops, livestock, and businesses.
Women providing support and welfare to the poor and elderly,
Dedicated children attending school, and the teachers who guide them.
That’s what inspired me in Ecuador.
Commitment to learning about my surroundings
Working to be the change the world needs.
Courage to try new experiences and view failure as a rose.
Compassion and understanding for the people around me,
Whose daily routines mirror my own.
Open mind and open heart.
That’s what I learned in Ecuador.
A love of the world and its people,
A passion for travel and culture.
A desire to use the Líder Del Día skills
I’ve acquired to help others.
That’s what I’ll bring back from Ecuador.
And these are the reasons why Ecuador
Holds a special spot in my heart.