“Each morning we are born again. What we do today matters most.”-Buddha
I read this quote recently and could not agree with it more. Each day, we are given the opportunity to renew ourselves, make a change, make a difference. Since returning from Ecuador, I have vowed to live by this philosophy.
The experience I had at the school in Quito opened my eyes once again to just how lucky Americans are and how easy it is to forget that. It is our responsibility as citizens of the US to never take for granted the privileges we are given merely because we were born in this country. There are numerous opportunities where we live to contribute something meaningful to society and not take advantage of the stereotypical American lifestyle.
Upon my return from Ecuador, I decided to start volunteering my time at a war veteran’s home close to where I live. My experience there taught me how serving others stateside can result in a similar feeling of serving those abroad. We can always do something. Our job is to never stop doing and never forget that people need people. We’re living in this world, not to consume it, but to contribute to it, making a difference in the process.
This trip may be the once in a lifetime chance to experience the culture Ecuador has to offer.
After spending five weeks in Spain last summer, I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity to explore life in another predominantly Spanish continent. I expect Ecuador to be very different from Spain though, whether it be the climate, food, music, people, everything really! It seems that many Americans sometimes lump Spanish-speaking people all into one group. This couldn’t be more of a misfortune because every country in the world is different! I can’t wait to absorb the distinct, Ecuadorian environment around me, learning as much as I can during the time we’re in Quito.
I feel fully confident that we will be safe during our travels. If anything, I’m nervous about the flight because I’m not that much of a frequent flyer! It’ll be so nice going all together, there and back.
Serving in Ecuador will be such a different trip than if a group of us were just going there for a vacation. There is nothing wrong with visiting other countries for pure exploration; we will just be exploring in more ways than one. A service-oriented trip will give us the privilege to discover people and places we would not be able to otherwise. While we are there, I hope we make real change happen. The definition of real change can be open to interpretation. According to Dictionary.com, the definition of change is to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone. This is not the reason we are going to Ecuador, per se. I don’t think we’re going to change people’s lives. The people of Ecuador will change ours. There is nothing wrong with the way other cultures live and I wouldn’t want to change anything about it. We will graciously serve while we’re there and hopefully have a lot of fun!