2010 Daily Journal
June 29, 2010
2010 Meet the Team
Anticipation — and frigate birds — were in the breezy ocean air as we conversed over breakfast by the Pacific. Today was a much awaited day. After developing a relationship with Elsi and Jose, we would finally be visiting their school to pass on teaching kits and teach science lessons.
Smiling students in crisp white shirts, ties and navy blue pants peaked around the corner as our bus approached. Elsi, Jose, the director of the school and many members of the community gave us a warm welcome. Today was a special day at the school because they were celebrating 61 years.
Children are children. Despite being on the other side of the world, with much different access to resources, we still saw our kids in these students’ faces and interactions. Having the opportunity to be guests in these classrooms and share our style of teaching and materials was an unforgettable experience. We were challenged by language and being strangers to these students, but the Ecuadorian teachers and translators helped us to communicate successfully. Our memories are filled with images of students running with pinwheels catching the wind, sea turtle artwork, children’s impressions of pictures in the clouds, and little hands in soil.
It was overwhelming to hear the gratitude these teachers, farmers and community members had for us. Just our presence was an honor to them. They said we would never know how much this day and the materials would help them. Jose shared how much being with us changed his perspective: “I would have never paid attention to a butterfly if it flew by and if I saw an insect, I would step on it!” Now, he said, he realizes the beauty and importance of the natural resources that Ecuador, his home, is rich with and he will share this appreciation for nature with others.
The director expressed the huge risk that Elsi and Jose took to leave their families and schools for 10 days. Traveling with a group of English speaking strangers (and taking their first flight!) had invaluable benefits for us all. We need these experiences to give us perspective. Our teacher guests had never even been to these areas of their own country, and Elsi expressed she would never forget this — it was a dream come true.
Tagua nuts are an essential part of the local economy. We witnessed artisans and apprentices carving, polishing and dying the nuts to make beautiful pieces of jewelry — one even individualized a key chain with each participant’s name carved on it. We felt good about making these purchases that will directly benefit the local people and economy.
We had our last meal with many of our new Heifer staff and farmer friends at an open air restaurant overlooking the ocean. Our goodbye was filled with kisses, hugs, handshakes and photos.
Bienvenidos! Everywhere we went, the welcome we were given was so warm and sharing. This is your community, your farm, your school — we wait for you to return to welcome you again.
—Angie, Carly and Sara
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