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Service trip immerses students in the culture of Ecuador
|Wednesday, 21 December 2011|
From December 3rd to 17th, 14 Trinity College School students and two teachers travelled to Ecuador to take part in a Me to We experience. This is the third year the School has participated in the trip and it is part of an ongoing annual commitment to sending students to the country to help impoverished communities build schools and other related projects. The group spent the majority of its time in the Chimborazo province, which is the Free the Children project area and includes some half a dozen remote communities.
This year’s group of students was lucky to be able to work in the same community as the past two TCS trips: San Miguel. The people of San Miguel are shy but sweet, and very thankful and appreciative when foreigners arrive to help their community. The students got to work on the first day, digging holes for the foundation of a new high school. This is a significant milestone for the community, as most students do not go to high school because it is a long trip to a neighboring community. The TCS students worked very hard digging the foundation, as well as making adobe bricks by hand, which will be used to make the classroom walls. The students were such hard workers that they were also put to work on assembling a new playground for the kids. The playground was donated as part of the $10,000 raised each year by the TCS group through various fundraising efforts. One of the most rewarding aspects of the trip was for our students to be able to spend time playing and interacting with the local school children. In the afternoons, students were able to exchange experiences, practicing their Spanish and getting to know the local children and what their daily lives are like.
One of the most culturally engaging parts of the trip occurred when the group visited the Guamote Market to experience the true indigenous “shopping” experience. After completing an activity where the students were to experience what life is like in these communities, the students came to the realization that many of these families only have approximately $1 US per meal to spend on a family sometimes as large as nine. It was their challenge to navigate the busy market and buy a full meal for their “family” – a challenge indeed!
Following more than a week of hard work, the group headed for the retreat component of their trip: Sasha Lodge in the Amazon rainforest. The students spent two days exploring and hiking the Amazon rainforest as well as spending time with an indigenous family. The group made homemade chocolate from beans around their property, as well as tasting several fruits straight from the tree!
The trip was a fantastic experience for the students involved, who will surely have stories to tell for years to come. The Ecuador trip will run again next year during Week Without Walls. Interested students are asked to speak to Mr. Tom Tansley, Mrs. Renée Hillier or Mrs. Kim Vojnov for more information.
Click here for more photos from Ecuador.
Click here for a video of highlights from the Ecuador trip.
- By Tom Tansley and Renée Hillier, faculty chaperones