I will never forget my time spent in Ecuador. I am so thankful to CET for this amazing opportunity. There are not enough words to express the depth of my gratitude.
In only eight days, my husband and I were able to travel all over many different parts of beautiful Ecuador. Our trip of a lifetime began in the sprawling capital, Quito, which is a huge city hidden high in the majestic Andes mountains. We explored the equator and equator museum. We traveled to Coca and stayed overnight in the Amazon rain forest. It was AMAZING! I will never forget how beautiful and peaceful the jungle was, or how captivating the monkeys were as they played together and jumped from tree to tree. I had a blast conversing with indigenous people in Spanish and browsing through intricate hand-made crafts at the Otavalo market. I was in awe at the stunning Spanish architecture of the old part of Quito.
The highlight of the trip for both my husband and myself was spending time at Fundacion Amiga, a very special school in the heart of impoverished Esmeraldas on the coast. This school is supported by CET and the AiDucatius Foundation. Esmeraldas is a beautiful, tropical area with an abundance of exotic fruits and overwhelming poverty. However, in the heart of the poverty, lies the jewel that is this blessed school. At Fundacion Amiga, we were privileged to meet the priest and his helpers who have built and grown the school through private donations. Fundacion Amiga is a safe haven where the children of drug-addicted and struggling parents find refuge and stability. We saw hundreds of happy children playing, learning, and enjoying a meal that for many is their only guaranteed meal of the day. Fundacion Amiga works hard to teach job and trade skills to the students so that they will have a hope for a future after their time at the school has ended. Despite growing up in hard conditions, the students at the school exude joy and appreciation for the school that is helping them to have a better life. Throughout the world, and especially in this coastal town, education is the lifeline giving a hope and future to many.
This experience was unforgettable and will impact my teaching for years to come. I have already begun sharing my travel stories and cultural experiences with this semester’s Spanish students. It is an awesome feeling to be able to teach them about Ecuador’s culture first hand. Thank you so much, CET!