Ecuador Quito

Something that was really cool about the three weeks in Ecuador was that we got to take small weekend trips. The two weekend trips consisted of Otavalo and Banos. Otavalo was a weekend trip to a town that is centered around the Otavalo market. The Market was friday, saturday, and sunday. People from all over the world come to sell things that they have made. There is everything from little trinkets to blankets to clothes to backpacks. Many different vibrant colors and nice people. The culture of the market requires you to negotiate the prices, if you begin to walk away they ask you to come back and negotiate it. The market was many blocks long and wide, there were times where I could not find my way back to the center. Also many stands would sell similar things so if you was something you liked, but wanted it in a different color then you could find it somewhere else close by.

Also on another weekend we went to Banos where we stayed in a hostel. It was neat because there were other students and kids our age that we met. Banos was very touristy but was also really cool to have the opportunity to do the touristy things for cheaper then back in the states. In banos I went canyoning where we repelled ourselves down waterfalls and jumped off one. Also we went to the swing at the edge of the world where we swung out over this incredible view. Then night clubs were really fun if you go out with your friends, I went out with kids from the other schools with was fun. We had a lot of freedom to do what we wanted to do, all the teachers were encouraging us to go out and see the town.

The service learning experience was very incredible. We would work with kids age 2-5 by feeding them lunch or helping put them to sleep for nap time. While they were sleeping I copied vowels and numbers one through five. I made 20 of each, so I copied over 100. After they woke up from their naps we would give them snacks and help brush their hair and wash their face. We didn’t spend a lot of time there, but we would go a few hours a day to help out any way we can. On the last day of service learning we spent three hours working on a painting project to help the aesthetics of the school. Paisley and I painted them a sign to go in front of the school so everyone would know what school that is. The other students worked on a wall mural painting that turned out really good. It would have been really cool to have had more days to go to service learning and really get to know the kids. There were specific students that really connected with me and would not leave my side.

The homestay was an experience in itself, really allowing everyone to experience the culture. Living in a homestay was one of the best experiences in Ecuador. The culture is about family and having meals together, where as back in the US everyone is very materialistic. In my host family we would have every meal together, even if my host mom was not eating she would still sit down with me while I ate. My homestay was close enough to the school that I could walk every day to and from school. That was a really nice way to start my day off, but because I lived on a hill it was not the nicest way to end the day. Every day I would come home and speak in spanish to my host mom, telling her about my day and little conversations. I felt that those conversations I had with my host mom were the most beneficial spanish speaking experienced because they were little conversations and you mostly use conversational spanish while speaking. I had a host sister who was in her 30s who would not live there, but she worked there during the days. I would spend a lot of my time also talking with her, mostly about what I should see while I was in Ecuador. My host family was very encouraging to go out with my classmates and explore Quito. My family was very loving and took me in as one of them, it helped with adjusting into the culture.

Credits:

Gabrielle Glaser

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