(In which I totally fail at being a techno geek)
In the midst of packing for our move (housing is now figured out, thank goodness!), I’ve also been packing my backpack and duffel bag for my return trip to Ecuador. I fly out on August 6th and return the 11th for the reunion celebration.
Last year’s mission trip to Ecuador predates this blog, so I’ll fill you in: Adopta Una Familia is a program in its tenth year, where North American volunteers are paired with Ecuadorian host families in Guasmo Sur, a barrio (neighborhood) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The local families and the traveling volunteers work together to build houses and a community center in the barrio.
Last summer, I lived for seven days with the Mera family, and over the course of that time, fell deeply in love with this family of eleven, who lived in a space that I might otherwise have considered fit for a wood shed. Also during that time, the seventy-eight North American volunteers and their Ecuadorian host families built six houses for six families, including my host family. We also continued work on Mi Cometa (my kite), the community center in the barrio, which houses a tutoring program, a computer lab (with very outdated computers, but better than nothing) and space for education, public health, and other events and programs for the neighborhood.
And most importantly, we built relationships and memories to last a lifetime.
I believe the truly transformative aspect of the Adopta Una Familia program is that the volunteers live with the families (and, it should be emphasized, the only Spanish I knew when I arrived was from Taco Bell commercials and episodes of Dora the Explorer, and none of my family spoke English), sharing their culture, their language (as best we can), their living space, the little food they have, and the abundance of love they give out.
After the trip, I made a video in Photostory to try to express the power and impact of this trip. Set to “Conviction of the Heart” by Kenny Loggins, this montage contains photos taken by me and by our trip’s photographer. Unfortunately, my upload to YouTube made it really choppy and I don’t know how to convert it to a better format so you can see the higher quality (further tecchie assistance is always welcomed!).