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2010 Daily Journal

July 1, 2010

2010 Itinerary
2010 Meet the Team

Greetings on the last day of our Ecuadorian adventure! We boarded the bus for a short drive to the lovely and peaceful Parque Nacional Los Frailes, an isolated ocean front surrounded by rocky cliffs with only the sounds of nature. We spent time quietly reflecting on the last nine days of this Ecuadorian odyssey.

Group Creation at Los FrailesItems collected from the beach were used to erect a final sculpture. This served as a centerpiece for our final discussion. Individual members shared reflections of what they would take back from this trip. Elsi, our Ecuadorian teacher friend, said she never imagined having such a moving experience with our group, and she considered us an extension of her family.

We continued toward Guayaquil via La Ruta del Sol. Along the way we stopped at ProPueblo where fair trade objects made by local women artisans were sold. The items for sale included tagua nut carvings, banana leaf baskets and clay pots.

Time with our new friends Elsi and Jose was short, and we stopped in Valdivia to return to their families. Symbolic gifts from Jose’s indigenous culture were given to representatives of our group as tokens of gratitude. He once again thanked everyone and said he considers each of us his lifelong friend. Hugs, kisses and sad goodbyes later, we were once again en route to Guayaquil.

We passed banana and fruit plantations, dry landscapes dotted with cacti, homes constructed of palm leaf roofs and bamboo walls, and beach-side fishing towns with ubiquitous cement block construction. As we were traveling, we once again were reminded of the diversity of indigenous people, landscapes, pueblos and cities in Ecuador. All are extremely interesting and intriguing.

Final Group ShotOnce again, parting is bittersweet. We are sad to say goodbye to our new friends, but will be happy to share our Ecuadorian experience full of new friendships, new experiences and new knowledge with our friends, family and all of the students of the world. Our many, many thanks to Heifer International and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for a time and experience beyond description!

- Sara & Linda

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