Day 3: A Day of Sharing
by Kate, Leslie and Meghan
After a light breakfast, during which we tried two new juices, guava and tree tomato, we headed to the Community of Cumbijín, a mountainous páramo partner with Heifer Ecuador, to distribute the lessons, activities, and materials we had prepared. As we entered the school grounds, we were overcome with emotion as one student ran over to hug each of us! We immediately felt welcomed! The NC teachers divided into three teams, accompanied by a translator, to lead the professional development with the teachers and students of the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. The three topics were Human Body, Wildlife of Ecuador, and Outdoor Investigations. We were excited to interact with the teachers and students and they were eager to learn and participate in the activities. We asked the students if they would be able to repeat the activities with the younger students and they yelled “¡Sí!” in unison!
After many hugs and pictures, we gathered with the community and students in the town plaza where we were honored with a presentation of traditional Ecuadorian dances by the students. Then we were asked to dance with the students!
We said “adios” to the students and enjoyed a traditional Andean meal of melloco (a tuber similar to potatoes), fava beans, cheese, papa chaucho (potatoes), hard boiled eggs, and ají sauce (which is very similar to salsa). The meal was a “bamba mesa” which means “potluck” and was prepared by the students’ families and was produced within the community.
In reflection of the day, we realized that though we are geographically far apart, we are similar in many customs. For example, the school was organized similarly (with a principal, classes by grade, a parent-teacher association, & a student council). More importantly, we met passionate teachers and enthusiastic students, which inspires us; all of our hearts grew a little more today!
So … we must mention Futbol de Ecuador! We walked to a local restaurant to watch the big game and share in the excitement when Ecuador beat Honduras 2 to 1! The celebration that filled the streets was overwhelming! People were honking car horns, blowing trumpets, waving flags, and chanting “Ecuador” and “Sí se puede” which means “Yes, we can!”