Senior students returned on February 2 from a 7-day trip to Ecuador. The trip was run through Me to We and featured stops in Quito and the Mondana community on the Napo River. The purpose of the trip was learning through experience. Students participated in a school building project in the Bellavista community, met local farmers who described their challenges with obtaining fresh water and the perils of consuming water from the Napo, participated in a water walk, harvested corn, learned about the culture of traditional Rafiki bracelets, hiked through the rainforest, toured old (downtown) Quito, and played basketball with some local students.
The trip was a resounding success and students have created action plans for local community events to raise awareness and funding for increased availability of clean water (more on this in the coming weeks). The Me to We team initiated nightly reflection activities that helped frame the experience for students and allowed them the opportunity to translate their learnings into these actionable change. The theme of the trip was Minga, a Quechua word meaning to come together and participate as a community. All the work that our travellers engaged in was collaborative and community based to emphasize the importance and meaning of Minga. We hope that they will return with a sense of both local and global communities.
One other underrated aspect of the trip was the beauty of Quito, a designated World Heritage Centre. Check out the view from our hotel.