On December 8, 2018, 16 CIC students and 2 staff members, Columbia International College embarked on a ME to WE overseas trip to Quito, Ecuador.
The purpose of the trip was to give students an immersive cultural experience abroad that will help them learn how their privilege (by coming from developed areas) can help others who are not as fortunate. Whilst helping improve the quality of life of the locals of the communities they visited, the students who participated were able to earn around 30 hours of community service hours.
Each day, the students participated in leadership initiatives, cultural activities, and community service (they may help build a school, dig a well, or work on an irrigation project).
Here are updates we received from the very passionate students/participants while they were in Ecuador:
December 10, 2018
Last night we arrived at Quito, a great city to explore. This morning we started with a walking tour through the old town, wandering around the colonial streets and exploring the squares. We learnt a lot about the story of the place and even tried “dog’s poop”, a traditional treat with a funny name!
Then we had lunch at Itchimbia park, located in one of the surrounding hills.
Later this afternoon we visited the equator museum, where we learnt by many fun activities some interesting facts of the equator and this country.
Tomorrow we’ll be heading to the Amazon to start our service portion of the trip.
December 10, 2018
On Monday we enjoyed an amazing road trip across the Ecuadorian highlands and then down to the Amazon basin, in our way we enjoyed beautiful views of constantly changing landscapes. After a day on the road we finally reached out destination, located in Mondaña ( Napo province). Minga Lodge will be our home for the coming week.
On our first day of volunteer work, we finally meet the community that we will be collaborating with. The community is called Kanambu, and the name means the palm that is commonly used for traditional constructions. We had the chance to walk around the school, meet some kids, and the foreman who will support us during the week. We will be working in the foundation for a water project there. We carried some rocks, we mix some cement but mainly we had a lot of fun sharing with our friends during the day. Attached is a photo of us on the build site. We had a great day on Tuesday and after dinner we celebrated Bruce’s birthday, we got some cake and fun night! We will keep you updated on our adventures!
December 13, 2018
We continue our adventure in the Amazon !! We visited a very interesting farm named Agricultural Learning Center, there the WE organization runs a program to train local farmers and volunteers about better practices, focused on diversity and quality of the crops by connecting the activity with the surrounding environment. There we visited a few areas of the farm and learnt about the different crops they cultivate, but mainly about the cacao plantation. Then we came back to Minga Lodge to put in practice what we learned about cacao and made our own artisan chocolate! It was absolutely tasty!
We also had the chance to explore the jungle a little bit more. We went on a hike looking for a giant Kapok tree. We saw some birds and local plants used to different purposes, like medicines, traditional construction, cosmetic and others. We attached some pics to share a little bit about our amazing hike.
Friday after working super hard in the build site of Kanambu, the community that we have been working this week, we had the chance to visit “Flor Bonita”, an artisanal group of women that works and sell handicrafts as an extra income for their families. They taught us to make a bracelet and also showed us some great dance steps 😊.
We at CIC are incredibly proud of these students for doing their part in changing the world.