I finally convinced Zach to write about his experience in Ecuador. He had such an awesome time, and he did a great job documenting in his travel journal and taking pictures, but I wanted to have something on here to share with all those who helped with fundraising (or who were checking in with me daily to see if they had posted a pic on instagram, which helped calm my nerves and miss him a little less!) It truly was the best experience for him and I hope that his siblings do something similar!
Here’s Zach! (I have added in all the pictures he selected but not sure if I got them all in the right order!)
I left for Ecuador early Wednesday morning and didn’t know what to expect. I first met the group in L.A then flew through San Salvador to Guayaquil, Ecuador. We spent the night in the airport and slept literally on the ground before our flight to the Galapagos Islands.
We had our first weekend excursion in the Galapagos where we toured around one of the islands there and got to know everyone else in the group a lot better.
The island is so beautiful but not what I expected. There were some arid parts and other greener parts it was super cool. We also saw lots of cool wildlife like tortoises, sea turtles, and reef sharks.
We headed back to the mainland and bussed the beautiful drive over and through the Andes mountains from Guayaquil to Cuenca where we spent the majority of our time.
We went to church on Sunday which was really great, we also did some home teaching and spiritual activities throughout the day.
We had pretty much a set routine from Monday-Friday and different activities at night. It started off around 6:30 Am everyday then breakfast which was usually bread and egg (not the best). We then had an hour of scripture study and morning devotional.
We went to the work site and did different work every day; which included plastering, chisling, throwing cement, sanding, pickaxing and a few other things. We would work from 9-11:30, have bread break then continue work until around 1:15.
We had lunch then continued work until 5, went back to the hostel, showered, chilled, then went out to dinner.
Throughout the week we had the opportunity to visit the orphans and school kids as well with the physical labour.
We worked on a mural as well.
Every night we went to a different restaurant, all of which were nice, and did different activities. We went to a local family’s family home evening, the ward sports night, an alpaca store, on a double decker tour bus, and a swing which swung over the city.
The second weekend we got to go to a place outside of the city called El Churro which was around an hour and a half drive from Cuenca. We started of going on some hikes which were super beautiful. We then went to a waterfall and took turns jumping in with a rope tied to us incase we went into shock as it was so cold. We had lunch, and went ziplining on two big ziplines with super nice views. We got to cook and eat guinea pigs which was a super cool experience but weird because of my former pet guinea pigs. We did some traditional dancing, had dinner then headed back to Cuenca.
On last day, we had the opportunity to go to the Guayaquil temple.It was pretty cool because everything was in Spanish.
We chilled, and enjoyed our last night together sharing our thoughts about the experience. The next day, we flew home and had some tearful goodbyes.
All in all, it was an amazing time and I will remember it forever. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to serve the people of Ecuador and make some amazing friends.
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