Today is August 6 and our fifth day in Ecuador.Today’s theme of the day was working like a local. We also learned a lot about minga which is the Kichwa word for when the community comes together to work together for a greater good such as providing healthy food for the rest of the community. On this day, we got to visit and help volunteer at an organization named Utopia. Utopia is an organization that is dedicated to bringing healthy and good quality food to families living here in Riobamba through what they call a ” Canasta Comunitaria”. Utopia holds their ” Canasta Comunitaria” every 15 days on Saturdays. In the “Canasta Comunitaria” there is a variety of 22 to 24 different products such as fruits, grains, vegetables, and flour to name a few. The portions of the basket could potentially feed a family of up to five members. Families order the foods that they would like on Monday so that Utopia has a sense of the amount of families that will like a food basket and the families have until Thursday to pay. Starting on Thursday Utopia then starts calling in the farms that they work with so that they know what can be provided by them and what they will have to go buy at the market on Friday. The orders usually arrive by Friday and all throughout the day the orders come through up until early Saturday Morning.
Today for Global Glimpse we got to go volunteer at the “Canasta Comunitaria” and distribute the food to the families that came by. Today’s highlight was most definitely working at the ” Canasta Comunitaria” since the energy was flowing all over the place and it felt good to be in such a happy and appreciating environment. We got to work with Gabi who is a partner of Utopia and Gonzalito who is the founder of Utopia. One of the biggest challenges today was probably the heat, due to the fact that it was probably the hottest day we have experienced so far on this trip, in my opinion at least. Although it was incredibly hot, we continued on with the work and the day was definitely a success. In my opinion, today was an incredible day that I will forever cherish in my memory because helping the community and seeing how grateful they were to have us there helping can be an experience that I will most likely always talk about and think back upon. Apart from being there and helping, Utopia also took the time to feed us amazing food such as bread and rice.
Another highlight of the day would be when the group was on its way to dinner and we were all in this euphoric state of mind where the energy was over the top even when we had to wake up early in the morning at 5:30. It was really fun to watch every one bond and be so happy to be around each other. It is moments like this that can help justify as to why I love traveling and meeting new people. Dinner was amazing and little Nelson even took the time to bring out his Playstation and bond with our group. A lot more bonding occurred once he brought out his cute pup named Chocholo and every one gathered around to enjoy the presence of each other and the puppy. I will definitely cherish this day forever and look forward to more experiences like today. Big love to Chloe for having never ending energy and dancing her way through the first half of the day; big love to Gabi for welcoming us with open arms into her community and allowing us to volunteer; big love to Gonzalito for bringing out people into the dance floor and founding an amazing organization;and big love to Nelson as well for being willing to let us into his life and wanting to bond with this group.