Hola from Quito, Ecuador!
You know that common saying “Working hard or hardly working”? Well, it doesn’t apply to us. The group has been hard at work two of the four days we’ve spent in Quito.
While in the capital city, we’ve been working with an organization whose goal is to better lives through programs that fight hunger, provides educational opportunities for children and small business classes for adults. On the first day of volunteering, we were tasked with excavating the foundation of a new house and transporting fresh sand to make cement. As soon as we pulled up to the house, every single one of the trip members rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Throughout the day, we had the pleasure of interacting with the host family while practicing some of our Spanish language skills. Many of us reflected later in the day that seeing the joy on the homeowner’s face was the best part of the day.
An important part of this community service trip is to have an open dialogue about the experience of helping others. After the first day of volunteering, we gathered to discuss the day through the 5-finger method. Each of us had the opportunity to share five things based on the following method:
- Thumb: Thumbs up! What went well today!
- Pointer Finger: Shout out someone for doing great things
- Middle Finger: What could have gone better
- Ring Finger: A promise that you will make to yourself
- Pinky Finger: Share something small that you witnessed
Here is a summary of those answers:
- Thumbs Up: The hard work that every single one of us put into the day’s task
- Pointer: Shout out to Stevie’s “Good Music” playlist and Scott for the seemingly endless wheelbarrow trips throughout the day!
- Middle Finger: That we didn’t have enough time to finish the job. We got so close!
- Ring Finger: That we are going to fully take in the experience and enjoy the moment
- Pinky Finger: The look of joy on the homeowner’s face throughout the day ☺
All of us took the satisfaction of a hard day’s work into the second day of volunteering. Instead of returning to the same house, our responsibilities took us to the organization’s headquarters where we worked all day to sand, clean and stain wooden benches and a children’s playset. The work was hard, but we understood our purpose. Without us, the workers at the organization would have been pulled away for days from the students to do what we were able to accomplish in just one day. As we were leaving, the women running the organization shared that we were the hardest working group that she’s ever worked with. It’s safe to say that we all stepped back onto our bus standing a little taller than before.
Together, we are enjoying the beautiful countryside of Ecuador and the ‘pseudo-family’ we are building with every experience. Whether it’s visiting a local craft market (to buy you all souvenirs), crossing the equator over 100 times (by jumping back and forth for 2 minutes) or watching Brian bravely volunteer to be ‘healed’ from an Ecuadorian witch doctor, we are having a blast!
Morgan, Mitch and Zach