Ecuador Blog Day 5: Volunteering in Shuid

By: Rebecca Wong
Today I’m feeling really great. I had the best sleep since I’ve arrived in Ecuador and am so ready to really start work in Shuid!

Nicholas Jones-Abaad and Rebecca Wong in Shuid, Ecuador. Photo by Natalie Zakrajsek

By: REBECCA WONG

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Nicholas Jones-Abaad and Rebecca Wong in Shuid, Ecuador. Photo by Natalie Zakrajsek

Nicholas Jones-Abaad and Rebecca Wong in Shuid, Ecuador. Photo by Natalie Zakrajsek

Today I’m feeling really great. I had the best sleep since I’ve arrived in Ecuador and am so ready to really start work in Shuid!

We started the day off with the kids. I met Antonia, Carmen, Maria, Edgar, Kaime, Gola, Milton, Erica, Sergio, Angel and the admirable second grade teacher, Laura. All the children were just fascinated with my red backpack for whatever reason and always tried to see who could come the closest to touching it. The pure joy that they carry in their eyes is so memorable to me. They literally have nothing, yet they see something good in everything. They didn’t have any plates or bowls and had to eat their lunch (if they had any at all) by cupping their sweater into a fold and storing the food in the little pouch they made. I had never seen that before in my life and it really touched me. At home, I’ll complaining about doing the dishes and get annoyed that my family is always telling me to eat more, when these 5 year olds are eating out of their school uniforms.

The rest of the morning, we broke into groups and did different tasks. I was sawing rebar to reinforce bricks in the actual building. Surprisingly, it’s quite hard to hand saw rebar and by 12:45 pm, we were ready for lunch.

Cutting rebar in Shuid, Ecuador. Photo by Natalie Zakrajsek

Cutting rebar in Shuid, Ecuador. Photo by Natalie Zakrajsek

When we were back to work, I dug trenches for the future foundation of the school for the rest of the day. Shoveling with a pick axe and heavy metal shovel had never been so much fun, especially when you add in the awkward moments when the locals would be staring at us strange people shovelling the wrong way and outwardly laughing. Though a little embarrassed, I just kept trying to dig a trench of the perfect depth and width. I didn’t necessarily succeed, but I tried. Oh how I tried.

Digging trenches in Shuid, Ecuador. Photo by Natalie Zakrajsek

Digging trenches in Shuid, Ecuador. Photo by Natalie Zakrajsek

Back in Tortorillas after a long day, we ran a leadership activity which had to do with the distribution of wealth, population, and food consumption in the world. Who knew that while Europe represents only 15 per cent of the world’s population, it consumes 45 per cent of the world’s food? Who knew that North America had 7 per cent of the world’s people yet we consume 30 per cent of its food? Now that’s just shameful. Gives you a lot of perspective…

Lesson of the day: With the leadership activity and seeing the kids eating from their sweaters, I realized today that our society in North America is just so wasteful and revolves around consumption. Do we really need to change our computers every two years to keep up with the latest trends? Do we really need to order a huge plate of fries if we know we’re not going to finish it? Why do we think we can just waste what we believe we are entitled to? That food we left on our plate could have fed someone else.

Song of the day: “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Become” by Relient K

Though it sounds like a depressing song, the lyrics talk about admitting that we’ve made mistakes and that we want to change. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YVuql8R1G8

– Rebecca

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