Casa de Mera, Guayaquil, Ecuador (8/7, 12:34 a.m.)

Early rising this morning, and at Laguardia by 7, where I met the rest of the reunion group around 9:30. Flight to Miami was uneventful, but the layover was long and we were inexplicably delayed.

First disappointment: we got into Guayaquil and through customs at about 11 local time, which felt like midnight to us. we were exhausted, as were the handful of Ecuadorians awaiting us at the airport. No raucous cheers like last year, no time for a formal greeting at the barrio.

Off the bus, I was met by Andres, Carlos, Diego (the three oldest boys; 19, 16, and 13, respectively), Isabel (host mom), and Bonnie. Bonnie is the North American who’s been here for the work week, and Bonnie filled me in on the second disappointment before I got back to the house.

it isn’t finished.

Apparently, the project ran out of money– they spent too much on Mi Cometa (the community center), because construction costs went up 200% this year and they needed to finish the center to help secure more funding. So my family still has no bathroom, no kitchen, no tile, no paint. What a true bummer. I was so looking forward to seeing it, and now who knows when I may see the finished project? And how sad for them– I’d been picturing them in this gorgeous, finished house all year– although even as it is it is a huge improvement, and the bunk bends commissioned last year look amazing!

Andres looks like he’s doing wonderfully, Carlos is as quiet as ever, and they already noticed my improved Spanish. It’s good to be back with my host family, but I miss my family back home.

A final disappointment: according to my roommate, Bonnie, Cristian, who was one of my best buddies last year, is nowhere to be seen.

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