Click here to see pictures of today’s adventures!

The faces of cheerful children filled the rooms with energy and joy throughout the daycare. It only took one giggle to fill your heart with happiness. Today was more than just a visit; it was an unforgettable experience.

Waking up to the rising sun, we ate breakfast and continued on a short walk to the Ministerio de Inclusión Económica y Social (MIES) center. Our first stop was to the nursing home, where we met with Ecuadorian elders that greeted us with joy as we shook their hands. This government-funded ministry has a hardworking staff that provides its clients with meaningful experiences at no cost. We watched as the elders enjoyed their daily activities that improve their physical strength and emotional conditions.

After the visit to the nursing home, we had a chance to visit the ministry’s daycare. The daycare was filled with adorable children, their faces filled with a mixture of joy and confusion as they ran to play with us. They laughed and bounced around as we played games and took photos. Not only did we get to bond with the children but with the caretaker. She showed us how she cares for them daily and provides them with resources that their families struggle to provide themselves. We helped them wash their faces and dry their hands. We took them to lunch so that they could grow up big and strong.

Next, we visited the Betesda Foundation training center, where we learned combat moves and Zumba aerobics. David, the director of the Catholic nonprofit organization, instructed us with an exhilarating fast-paced combat move routine. Laura, David’s wife and co-trainer, then showed us salsa moves during the Zumba class. They shared with us the purpose of their organization, which helps struggling people find purpose in life. While we had our daily seminar meetings, we were surprised by music coming from outside our hotel. As we hurried to the balcony, we realized it was a parade! The streets were filled with beautiful sparkling dresses as everyone danced the night away. Ending the night we had a fantastic dinner at La Estancia and had a great 4th of July party with confetti and a piñata as the entire group had a celebration of our own.

Today was a big part of not only learning more about the community of Gauranda but connecting and understanding the different people that play different roles in the community. We had a chance to connect with the people of Gauranda and better understand the resources they provide for their people. We felt comfort in connecting with people young and old today, and being able to know their stories showed us how important the aid they provide is.


Vina Nguyen
Central High School

Jonathan Arias
Summer Search Program