After a whirlwind of a trip, we were finally in Ecuador and would soon be meeting out host families. We started off the day at the hostel where we played a very interesting game about two different groups of people, each having their own beliefs and ways of life. This game pushed us to think about its relationship to "the real world" and from it we were able to draw various important lessons. What stuck with me was that there is not really any right or wrong way to do things or live life, it's all related to what people believe: value. In the end, we are all humans doing what we have to do to survive. Another important thing that came up was the importance of keeping an open mind. When we do so, we learn so much and are able to create lasting memories that maybe we wouldn't if we didn't keep an open mind. It was a nice reminder in this point of our trip as we would soon meet our host families and be immersed in a culture different than what we are used to. Soon after, we went to a huge mercado, which was busy. We fueled our bodies with yummy food, then spread around in search of food for our host families. By the end, we all were struggling to carry cosales full of stuff and plenty of yapas. We loaded two trucks with our stuff, and headed off to finally meet our families. This truck ride was quite bumpy, a bit cold, and unsteady but nonetheless fun.

As we arrived to the town of Agualango, our excitement and eagerness increased. They met us with fireworks (that scared us a little bit at first), floral arch, and a very delicious, traditional communal meal along with chicha. The love and affection was immediately felt as they received us with open arms. I am so grateful to be here and I know we will have many memories to look back on. This journey has just begun and I can't wait for everything that is to come.

Viviana Gonzalez