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The Ecuador trip was an amazing experience. I was one of twelve Grade 6, 7 and 9 students who was fortunate enough to participate on this trip.
We left Ottawa in February and went on a ten-day incredible journey. We spent two days traveling, two days in Quito (the capital of Ecuador) and six days in the Amazon rainforest. Throughout this time I had the opportunity to meet new people, learn about a new culture, and even help those in need.
In Quito, our first stop, I had the chance to learn about the aboriginal culture and visit a fascinating museum with a guide who told us all about her experiences in Ecuador and shared her vast knowledge with us. We even got to try a native delicacy. Also in Quito, we got to visit the equator and learn some interesting scientific facts about it. It was so amazing to be able to stand along this line and have half of your body in the Northern Hemisphere and half of your body in the Southern Hemisphere.
Next we were off to the rainforest. We spent a day of travel on a bus and once in the jungle, we had to take a boat to our lodge. This lodge was very welcoming and came with an amazing view of the rainforest. Here we got to see many amazing creatures, such as parrots and other birds, snakes, frogs, spiders, butterflies and the occasional monkey.
Throughout our time in the Amazon and in Quito, we had a fantastic jungle guide who taught us everything he knew, from the languages, to his culture, and all about the animals we saw. He even brought us to visit some of his family to learn even more about spirits and the Ecuadorean culture.
I specifically remember two of these visits that will stay in my mind forever. One was getting to visit our jungle guide’s grandfather, who taught us all about spirits and healing rituals and he performed one of his rituals on us. I felt so enlightened and knowledgeable after his talk. I also remember getting to visit a local farmer who taught us about his life, what his daily routines were, and a bit about the types of fruits that he grew on his farm. There was actually one fruit that we could paint on our face to create aboriginal letters and spiritual patterns.
Of course we didn’t just see animals and learn about the culture while in the Amazon, we also helped a nearby community. We spent many hours working on building an accommodation for doctors next to a hospital that had just been built. This was an amazing part of my trip, because I got to meet people from the community, work on a construction site, and meet some of the kids from the local school. We got to play with them and they were amazing. Everyone we met was so kind and sweet and welcoming.
I would recommend this trip to anyone and everyone. It was an incredible experience and different from anything I have ever done before. Highlights of my time will forever be in my mind. I improved my leadership skills, tried new things, got closer to everyone else who went on this trip, and learned what I can do to help others. I will never forget one of the most amazing times of my life.
Submitted by Grace C., Grade 7
For all of the students who participated on this year Me to We trip to Ecuador, it was a shock to hear about the terrible earthquake that struck the incredible country we had so recently visited. The earthquake that struck Ecuador on April 16, 2016, had a magnitude of 7.8, which is extremely high. People’s homes were destroyed and many people were injured or killed. Our first thoughts after hearing about the earthquake were all about the people we had met while there.
On Monday, May 9th, Elmwood School held a bake sale to raise money for the people who suffered from the earthquake in Ecuador. All of the proceeds will be going to UNICEF. The bake sale was run by all of the girls who went on the Me to We trip. We all hope to help make a difference.
Submitted by Claire G., Grade 7
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