As the rooster crowed at 7:00 am in downtown Riobamba, Hotel Mashany transformed into “Fort Knocks” as we (Claire and Sydney) pounded on each Glimpser’s door for a very efficient wake-up. Although we were met by many groggy faces and not so pleasant remarks, everyone’s mood was brightened by the time we were served fresh fruit and pan tostado at breakfast. As Leaders of the Day, we made it a point to always plan ahead in order to keep the Glimpsers informed, as well as promoting breaks and the hydration of the group (sometimes against their will). Personally, I (Claire) felt that I easily fell into the role of Líderes del Día because I was able to utilize my voice to organize the group, even though I am typically on the quieter side. I (Sydney) enjoyed the chaos of the day (managing the Community Action Project) and being able to make sure everyone was feeling peppy and ready to work hard.

At Reyna Pacha, the preschool where we are completing our Community Action Project, we were surprised by the dedication of the locals who helped us. A group of approximately fifteen women (some mothers of children at the school), worked with our fellow Glimpsers in order to level out the field in the back of the school and create a fruit and vegetable garden. Another community member who we greatly admire and appreciate is Pablo; he has been very patient and hardworking with us. He helped us scrape paint off the walls, showed us how to correctly apply and smooth the paste on the wall to decrease the humidity inside, as well as singlehandedly installed three toilets.

We were especially inspired by Pablo because he has no children attending the preschool, yet he has donated three days of his time and provided immense expertise for the greater good of his community. By the end of the day, our group had successfully pasted all the indoor walls, painted the rooftop play area, and leveled the upstairs ground

#CAPonCAPonCAPonCAP. After the bumpy 45 minute drive from the school to our hotel, we took refreshing and slightly chilly showers to prepare for tutoring.

As we near the end of our English tutoring lessons (only one more to go!), each Glimpser has grown closer with their students and enjoyed taking on the role of being teachers. Although we had a few bumps along the road, each Glimpser takes pride in the fact that their students’ English skills improve every day #tutortime. We look forward to finishing our Community Action Project on Saturday and seeing all the positive impacts it will have on a local community. With only four days remaining in the trip, Glimpsers share the foods they desire most upon return, with mac and cheese being a fan favorite. We also have been discussing what we will miss most in Ecuador, including the welcoming community members and stunning views of Riobamba.

Sydney Levy, Highland Park High School

Claire Zipsie, Hinsdale South High School

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