As my fourth week in Quito came to a close, so too did my time as a UBECI volunteer. The program has certainly held some emotional ups and downs for me, but overall it was an amazing, authentic experiences. I can’t say I will miss the crowded buses or the stagnant smell of raw meat that would waft through the market place, but I will always hold these children in a special place in my heart. More than anything, I’m humbled by the openness and affection these kids showed me.
George said something really wonderful to me the other day, that our entire lives aren’t just one big event, it’s the billions of moments that guide and sculpt us. I’m very thankful for all the moments I enjoyed here in Quito and the opportunity to peer through this cultural window that volunteering provided us.
Kim and I are both looking forward to continue to offer our support to UBECI once we return to the United States. Although these kids deeply need the affection and educational guidance offered by volunteers, the program itself is lacking in supplies. We would love to find a way to offer funds to the program for books, crayons, puzzles, and school supplies to help keep the program strong. Our current idea is to ask friends and family to sponsor us as we run a half marathon this fall. Separate, unfortunately, as I will be in New Mexico and Kim will be in Michigan. If you’re interested in helping, keep an eye out for more information.
For our last week, we tried to squeeze in some uniquely Quito moments. First, we took an afternoon trip to the Museo National. My museum experiences in South America have never been particularly successful, so I didn’t even think twice about the eccentric collection of musical instruments and art we encountered. We returned home, disappointed in the lack of historical exhibits, only to find out that we accidentally visited the wrong museum, conveniently right next door, and in the same building, as the Museo National.
Or second “uniquely Quito” moment was to, finally, attend an Ecuador Wold Cup game in Mariscal with our friend Annabel. During our first attempt, we arrived too late to even enter any of the bars, so we made sure to show up an entire hour and a half before the start of the game. Ecuador put up a valiant fight against France, as their goalie thwarted kick after kick, but the game ended with a 0-0 tie. Unfortunately, this means that Ecuador will not be advancing in the World Cup. However, we had a great time cheering alongside Ecuadorean and tourist alike.
From here, Kim and I are now headed to our real “vacation” along the coast. I’m looking forward to updating from Montañita, Puerto Lopez, and Canoa over the next ten days. 😀