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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Buenos Dias from Ecuador! – Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands Community Service

    Buenos Dias! Como esta? For us we are all doing great in Ecuador. We have had many more opportunities for service and adventure! The trip members had the opportunity to visit an Indian community here in Ecuador. The locals showed off their talents by dancing and weaving for the group. After, we helped clear a field for planting beans. It was tough work, because everything is done by hand. The trip members did a fantastic job staying positive and working hard. Kyle was the first to volunteer to break up dirt and start forming rows. He really helped get things going. Lauren had a lot of fun clearing weeds, and even tried to catch a chicken. The chicken was faster, but we all had fun watching her try. We all wished we could have stayed longer, because we all had such a great time there.

    For our next adventure we hiked Cotapaxi Mountain. The hike was extremely hard, so only a few made it all the way to the top. Those that did were; Sam B., Sam R., Alex C., Rebecca, Russel, Danni, Alli, Lisa, Andrew, Kyle, Morgan, Mollie, and Josh. At the top we had noodle soup and hot chocolate, which helped get us ready for the trek back to the bottom. Everyone that attempted the mountain felt proud of how far they went, especially those that pushed themselves to the top. We are all in great shape now!

    Each night we practiced hard for our variety show that we performed at the elderly home. The practice paid off, because the show was great. The trip members had a lot of great ideas and worked hard to make sure their acts were perfect. When we arrived at the home, all of the students dove right in making bracelets, necklaces, and painting nails. Everyone there had a smile on their face, especially the people we were visiting. Josh impressed us with his braiding skills and made a lot of the residents happy with his bracelets and necklaces. Alexandra made a new friend in an eighty year old woman. She really helped make her day! Matt took a break from making everyone smile and helped scrub tiles. He worked hard and made a big difference. Haleigh helped serve lunch and made sure that everyone was taken care of. She really went above and beyond, as did all of the trip members.

    The performance by the trip members was a huge success. Everyone danced and a few showcased their individual talents for those in attendance. Lisa and Alli were our MCs and really brought the show together with their Spanish. Kyle and Alex C. performed a rap in Spanish, Sam R. amused everyone with a comedian act, and many of the students sang “I am Yours” by Jason Maraz. Each person did a great job and had a wonderful time. The elderly really loved the performance. At the end of our show we played Spanish music and danced with the seniors. Crystal and Jackie made a lot of older people happy by dancing with someone new each song. They made a lot of people smile and showed us their amazing personalities. After working so hard we decided to relax that night by roasting marshmallows over a bonfire. It was a lot of fun!

    Going into the Amazon our theme song was “I will Survive”, and survive we did! The lodge was beautiful and was right in the middle of the jungle. The first day in the Amazon we went to a Chicha community to perform service. We helped clear a soccer field at their school. All of the trip members worked really hard! Alli and Lisa made great partners carrying the dirt that the fathers of the community continued to chip away. Andrew became a master at running the wheelbarrow, and Sam B. had to be continually reminded to take a water break. He was so eager to help! Rebecca and Samantha created a system with our bus driver, Miguel, that allowed them to remove dirt more efficiently. Everyone worked hard and was dripping sweat by the end of our service.

    After our service we went to Amazoonico. We saw some pretty amazing animals. Morgan was slightly disappointed that they did not have any rescued sloths, but was again excited after seeing their three ocelots. Lauren´s attention was captured by all of the different varieties of monkeys they had at the rescue center, since the monkey is her favorite animal. Everyone enjoyed seeing the anaconda, especially the boys. After Amazoonico we floated down the river. Josh showed us what a fish he was by flying past everyone except our leader. At night we played mafia around the fire pit. Crystal, Sam R., and Russel were the murderers. They almost eliminated all of the innocent citizens, but our trusty detective Morgan helped save the day. After mafia Matt entertained us with a few of his hilarious jokes.

    The next day we went for a hike through the jungle and to a museum. On the hike Jackie and Mollie were great trekkers. Even though the terrain was difficult they marched ahead without complaint. At the museum Alex amazed us on his first try at the blow dart gun. He almost made a bulls-eye. On Kyle´s first try he didn´t hit the target, but improved with each turn and almost got third place. We played a round of battle of the sexes, which is similar to Jeopardy, but with somewhat sexist questions. The girls won 5100 to 500! Danni impressed us with her knowledge of action movie trivia, and Alexandra got all of the questions regarding Hollywood trivia. The girls definitely earned bragging rights after the game.

    The Amazon was a wonderful once in a lifetime experience and everyone was glad that they braved the jungle experience. Buenos Noches until we get back to Quito.

 The Westcoast Blogger