Quote of the day: “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
Question of the day: What have you learned in Ecuador during these past days?
Today was a free day for us Glimpsers; we split into three groups to explore the city of Guaranda, which included shopping for traditional clothes, Ecuadorian foods, and contacting home in internet cafes, or Cabinas. We also used our free time to buy materials for our Community Action Project (CAP). We’re planning to repaint the walls of the Llullundongo school to improve its liveliness and atmosphere. During this free day, we were able to further immerse ourselves in the city and improve on communicating with the locals. It was also a very emotional day for many of us as we finally read all of your comments on the blogposts and got a chance to communicate with friends and family back home. Despite this full day, we were all able to tutor the English students in the evening, and our lessons greatly improved from yesterday. We made a lot of progress in getting through to the students and really felt that we were making a lasting impact on their English skills.
Going out into the city, far away from the comfort of home required courage, which we exemplified through our willingness and ability to communicate with the locals and utilize the resources present in our surroundings, even though these were previously unfamiliar to us. This was in reality an example of our collective courage as a group, first demonstrated by each of us as individuals choosing to leave behind our lives in the US and engage in an immersive learning experience here in Ecuador. In addition, the events today brought up feelings of homesickness in many, which gave us an opportunity to demonstrate compassion for each other as we supported one another in order to persevere and enjoy our experiences here even through this emotionally difficult time. The continuous compassion that each of us received from one another was also key in our ability to demonstrate commitment to our purpose as Glimpsers in Guaranda. The rocky start to many of our English tutoring sessions from the previous day had merged with the emotional turmoil felt from homesickness, which had led many of us to dread the upcoming activities. However, our commitment to creating a positive impact on the English education for the students here as well as our general commitment to bringing home positive experiences from this trip allowed us to follow through, which turned out to reverse the previous mood further through the satisfaction felt from the great improvement in all of our classes. Overall, the presence of the 3 C’s in our group, from the Courage it took to really immerse ourselves in this previously unfamiliar city, to the Compassion that everyone displayed through our communal support of each other during the emotional roller coaster following our calls home, to the incredible Commitment that pushed us to follow through with our English tutoring sessions even though many of us doubted our ability to make an impact at first made the difference. We hope that the variety of experiences gleaned from our first free day will become a template for how we can improve ourselves as people and bring these lessons home to our communities.
We’d also like to send some “Big Love” shout outs to some Glimpsers who really shined today. First off, Carlos’ group (Helena, Ky, Ryan, Lauryn, Sheena, Carly, Darlene, Nava, Yuvi, and Brandon) for using a large amount of their free time to buy CAP supplies at multiple hardware stores. Another Big Love to all our Glimpsers for rebounding at having a really successful day of tutoring. The last Big Love goes to the PC’s for showing up throughout the day, even though they had the day off. We have an incredible group here, and we are all looking forward to our Fun Day tomorrow. – Megan and Ashwin