Ecuador Service Trip

Back in 2009, 12 TCS students, accompanied by three teachers, travelled to Ecuador from December 9th-22nd. After raising the $10,000 in funds required to build a school in Ecuador, the group spent two weeks in the San Miguel community in Chimborazo province helping to build a much-needed new school there. They also spent time connecting with the local children, playing games and participating in English/Spanish lessons with the Grade 8 class of the school. After a week of working in the community, they headed off to the Amazon to reflect upon their experiences and participated in empowering leadership sessions aimed at capturing their talents and interests to create an individual plan for each student to take home and make a positive change.

Each December since 2009, a new group of students has eagerly taken on the personal challenge of the Ecuador service learning trip. In addition to empowering students with respect to the impact they can have in developing areas of the world, this annual trip also facilitates learning about indigenous cultures and issues such as access to education, gender, fair trade and the environment. Along with the annual build project, which allows students to work alongside community members on a project of significant importance, students have the chance to visit grassroots community organizations, participate in science experiments at the equator, and finally take the time to reflect on their experiences during a retreat at the end of the trip.

The Ecuador trip is part of the School's Week Without Walls initiative. Week Without Walls is a program which has all Senior students and faculty members leave the classroom for three days to engage in community service opportunities aimed at both contributing to the greater community and helping students to embrace their potential to make a difference. The Week Without Walls was initiated as part of the School’s comprehensive service learning program, which supports our mission of “developing habits of the heart and mind for a life of purpose and service.”

Updates from our students' journey to Ecuador, November 23 to December 8, 2019:



December 6, 2019

Hola Family and Friends,

We are already in the Amazon! Yesterday after a beautiful trip from the highlands we finally arrived to Minga Lodge. Everything is super green and beautiful.

Today we had the chance to meet a local famer, Don Bargas, who is a community leader and an advocate for clean water access. He lives across the Napo River, 5 minutes from Minga Lodge. He invited us to carry water to his property, 500m on our shoulders, so that we could get a tiny taste of what it was like when he did not have access to clean water in his home. He shared his story; it was moving and let us reflect a lot about what we can do from our own position in the world. We ended the afternoon with him sharing fruits from his farm and laughing at us when we tried the super hot chilies.

In the afternoon, we met the artisan women’s group in Bellavista community, who showed us their hard work and dedication. Sumak Warmi (the women's group name) is organized to create the women’s own handmade handicrafts as an alternative income source. We breaded our own bracelet together, from the very beginning, obtaining the vegetal fiber to the weaning process. We got to kept the bracelet we made and also we received another one as a gift from these amazing women. It was enlightening to learn about the “Opportunity” pillar in the Amazon.

Tomorrow we have a lot of new adventures. We are super excited for that. But, also feeling sad that the end of our trip is coming soon. We will miss our new friends for sure but can’t wait to come home and tell you all about the trip!

Love,

Trinity College School Team
 



December 4, 2019

Hola everyone!

Yesterday was a very beautiful day in the highlands of Ecuador. We had the chance to visit Sablog, where our school had the chance to volunteer last year. WE Villages team welcomed us and gave as a quick introduction about the community.

We had a busy morning working in the build site, where we painted walls and tiles, but the most exciting task was the brick-making in a very fun machine.

After our morning in Sablog, we went to visit Mercedes’ family. Mercedes and her family had the chance to be involved in the "Water" pillar projects (note: WE's model is based on five pillars: education, water, health, food and opportunity). She got clean water in her house a few years ago, and she shared with us the challenges her families used to face every day, when they used to get water from a close river.

Today, we had our last full day of working in Shuid. We worked in the foundation for a water station. We spent our morning mixing cement, painting tiles and wood blocks and nailing some boards for the storage construction. This week we painted around 300 tiles and around the same amount of wooden boards. We were super proud to see the progress we accomplished this week. We had our final match with kids from the school. The clouds were amazing around us! The landscape was stunning, playing football at the top of the hill!

We had to say “good bye” to Segundo (our Maestro – the foreman) and we can’t believe we are not going back to Shuid. We had a wonderful time in Chimborazo. Tomorrow we will continue our trip to the Amazon. We learned a lot about the Andean Ecuador culture, about our action planning and about ourselves. We had a wonderful week here in the mountains... And we are ready for the last couple of days! See you soon!

All the best,

Trinity College School Team
 



December 2, 2019

Hola from Chimborazo!

The last three days has been full of activities here in Ecuador, and we are excited to share with all of you!

The last Friday we had the chance to spend a full day in Shuid, the community where we are volunteering. We continued working in different tasks like painting tiles, wooden roof structures, nailing, but the best part was the soccer match we had the chance to play! A lot of fog and fun around the mountains.

In the afternoon we went to walk a little bit around the town we are staying at. A little historic center, a train station and a great coffee after that made that afternoon very relaxing.

Yesterday we spent a full day with the women’s group at Santa Anita de Pulingui Community. We met the Sumak Ahuana women’s group, where we had the chance to learn how to shear a sheep, spun the wool in to yarn and also learned how to knit using looms. It was great to see the entire process from the beginning to the end and that gave us a very good perspective of how much work goes into handicrafts. While we were working we had a beautiful view of Chimborazo volcano.

The women shared about how they make their products, but also they shared about the history of their community, their group and their families, including their challenges and achievements as a group and that the women have in their personal lives, and how that impacts in a powerful and positive way to the rest of the community and especially the new generation of women.

In the afternoon, Angelita, one of the women’s group members, invited us to work with her in her potato field. There we weeded and removed the soil to oxygenate the crop.

At night we had a very powerful and deep activity (“That is What You call a Minga”), where we had to work with family profiles and work together in order to decide which would be the most important project that our community will need based on our family profiles. We discussed about the importance of water, education, road access and having the presence of the priest more often in the community. It was very interesting how powerful the Minga are in the communities in order to achieve common goals that benefit the entire community, but also for making a decision as inclusive as possible.

Today, we went back to Shuid, to keep working in the school project. Is amazing the deep bonds we are creating with the group! We are excited and looking forward our activities tomorrow, stay tuned!

Best!

Trinity College School Team



November 29, 2019

Hola familia!

The last two days have been lovely. Our day yesterday started on the build site where we spent the morning painting tiles and carrying materials. The group really enjoyed our second session on the build site and their spirits remained high. We came back to Pircapamba for lunch, followed by a delicious cooking class hosted by Margarita. We made machica...yummy! Afterwards, Luz Maria (chef) invited us to participate in a guinea pig ceremony; we were impressed to see how respectful the participants were during this activity. After dinner, we started talking about the Market Activity which proved to be a great opportunity for the group to discuss any comments or concerns in anticipation of the following day’s activity.

Today was another great day. We started this morning off with the Market Activity which brought the group together in a totally new way. Each “family” (team) enjoyed exploring the market and buying food for their meal all while remaining within the $1 budget. Following our trip to the market, we ate a boxed lunch before meeting with the Girl’s Club where we made bracelets. The group really enjoyed engaging with the women and the children. After coming back to Pircapamba, we had dinner and shared an impactful conversation, debriefing the day’s activities. Before bed tonight we played Charades to lighten the mood a bit...this was awesome, and such a silly/fun way to end the evening. The past two days have been great and we are all really looking forward to what the rest of the trip will bring!

Hugs from the middle of the world,

Trinity College School Team
 



November 27, 2019

Hola familia!

Our last two days have been wonderful! After breakfast yesterday we travelled from Quito to Pircapamba, stopping for ice cream and a lunch break on the way. Once we arrived at Pircapamba we enjoyed dinner, followed by the “country talk” and “community code” (learning about our community), before going to bed in anticipation of our first day in the community.

Today we spent the full day on the build site. We started the day with a delicious breakfast before heading off to Shuid; we had the opportunity to work in the community all day on several projects that included mixing cement, painting tiles and painting wooden beams. We really enjoyed the sunny weather and were sure to stay properly sun protected and hydrated while out on the build site. You can see a picture (above) of us at the end of the day on our build site in the clouds!

After our day on the build site, we returned to Pircapamba, where we enjoyed a delicious dinner, followed by a social justice talk. We enjoyed having this opportunity to share ideas as a group and engage in productive conversations.

Tomorrow we will have the opportunity to go back to the build site for the morning, and in the afternoon we are invited to attend a cooking class. We are all looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep tonight before another fun-filled day tomorrow!

Hugs from the middle of the world,

Trinity College School Team
 

November 25, 2019

Hola familia!

With the late arrival last night, we had a good sleep before the big day in Quito. After eating a great breakfast, we did a walking tour around the Old Historic Quito with a special host. A charismatic purgatory soul (“Limbo Spirit”) that came from the XXI century to share with us some secrets of this amazing city. She was so knowledgeable and taught us so much about the religion, medicine, art and the overall history of this place. On our walk, we got to see different beautiful and baroque churches.

After we said good bye to our lovely host we headed to the Itchimbía park, which is an amazing viewpoint of the city, where we had the chance to eat our lunch and see the city from other perspectives. You can see a picture of us striking a pose on the Quito sign with the beautiful city of Quito as our backdrop.

After lunch, we had the opportunity to visit the Equator Museum and stand right on the Equator itself. We learned interesting facts about the physical changes and tons about Ecuador culture!

Tomorrow we will be driving to the highlands to continue our adventure! We will be staying at a small town called Alausí. Stay tuned! We will keep you updated!

Hugs from the middle of the world,

Trinity College School Team