This past May  Randy Barrette, the Spanish Teacher at Menifee County’s high school and at-large member of the Kentucky-Ecuador Partner’s Chapter took a group of 7 students to Ecuador. Their guide was none other than the Quito chapter’s Executive Director, Miguel Castañel.
Below is a collaborative piece in which the students describe the impact the experience had on them.
Through our experience we have learned about the people and places in Ecuador. Ten days is not a long time, but what little time we were there, we were immersed in a different world. We learned about the geography, culture, and a little bit of how society works in Ecuador. If we had to summarize our experience in about twenty-five words, this is what we would say: Our brief yet memorable trip to Ecuador opened our eyes about the world to show that there is more to life than our small town.
What we carry back in our hearts and minds is how much we appreciate our country. We don’t realize how much we love and understand our country until we see the way others live. We also carry back the pleasure we had to see so much, and from such a beautiful country. From the rainforest to the city, our eyes were always taking in new sights.
While in Ecuador, we experienced poverty, and stereotypes were broken. We thought that if an individual was indigenous, they were impoverished, but that was just the opposite. We were fortunate enough to visit an indigenous family’s house to see how they made their living and the beautiful, luxurious house they were able to afford because of their hard work.
We feel more knowledgeable now that we have seen the way others live, interact, and use their land in so many ways. Instead of the man-made dependent society in the U.S., Ecuador uses natural resources to its advantage and in a way that protects itself, which surprised us. Our amazing trip has led us to understand more about the country and the unique aspects that make Ecuador so wonderful. We learned that we could be taught in different ways than our typical classroom set-up. Our group learned from the world through our traveling in Ecuador.