Time flies and we are already in a new season, with new plans and expectations. I would like you to make a stop now and for 5 minutes go back to the summer of 2018 where the life of many people changed for good. Since your visit to the Galapagos Islands, nothing is the same.
Your parents faced the uncertainty of letting you go to a different country on your own on, for some of you, for the first time. You decided to get out of your comfort zone and use your summertime to learn, share and grow. Your mentors took the challenge of guiding you on an experience that we expected to be the best of your life. The local community opened their doors to visitors that came to support their work and dreams.
Everything started with you arriving in Quito. The green and majestic mountains welcomed you and we remember that was the first comment some of you made. The Historical center, the churches, the cobblestone streets and the smell of sweet chocolate gave you a glimpse of what living in Quito means. One of the highlights of the day was the view from El Panceillo and the many pictures you took of the sunset up there.
It was time to get on a flight, a bus and a couple boats to get to the Galapagos. We can’t describe the excitement on your faces that day. You were all eager to get there and despite the late arrival of the luggage you kept positive and the view of the first blue waters paid off everything.
The hard work painting the school and cleaning the tortoises’ field in Isabela, planting trees and picking rocks in Santa Cruz or the beach clean up in San Cristobal were mixed with some unforgettable moments of snorkeling, kayaking and swimming all surrounded by sea lions, sharks, fish, turtles and many other magical creatures that we found on the way..
The wall of tears hike, the beach time, the soccer game with the locals along with he leadership activities and free time gave us the opportunity to challenge ourselves in many ways and open our eyes, minds, and hearts to the world we want and dream.
Can you see the change now? Parents, students, mentors and the community of Galapagos. Our lives cannot be the same. Now we trust more to each other, we are more aware of social and environmental issues, we grew personally and as a group, we experienced homesickness but also compassion and friendship. We have overcome our fears and got answers to our questions. We had fun and found friends for life. What a wonderful summer.
Highlight memories from our trip:
-Arriving in the Galapagos only to find our luggage was left on the mainland and having to run around the island in the evening trying to find any type of clothing that could work for swimming
-Kayaking through a group of blue-footed boobies while sea turtles, sea lions, and penguins swam by
-Trying to teach the game Contact to everyone while hiking to the Wall of Tears
-Watching the sunset on the beach on San Cristobal Island
-Jumping and swimming at Las Grietas
-Dancing on the beach before the random concert in Isabela
-Attempting to beat the locals at soccer
-Understanding the equator forces
-Giving shout-outs to each other the last night in Quito.
Don’t forget your time in Ecuador and don’t forget us.
We love you.
Your mentors Amy and Maria Fe
Local team Patricia, Jorge and Edison