Global: Session 2 - Lifeworks Galapagos 2

Posted: Mon, Aug 1, 2016

The Seed And The Stone

Location: Andes Mountains
Author: Katie E.

Waking up was bittersweet today, knowing this is our last day of doing actual activities. The sickness spreading through all of us has died down a little, now only Faris and Soo had to stay back with a mild cold. After a quick breakfast, we all packed into the back of trucks and made our way to a town called Quilotoa. There we faced harsh winds and the coldest temperatures so far on this trip. All of us kind of looked like misshaped marshmallows, but I think we pulled it off. Our first stop was a little market, where people bought sweaters, hats, sunglasses, anything to help them warm up.

When we were finished, we all headed through the sandstorm to quite possibly the prettiest view Ive ever seen. It was just a lake, but the mountains that surrounded it and the fact that the water shimmered in the sunlight made it amazing. We seized the perfect photo opportunity before starting our hike to Guayamas. The up-hill portions of the hike didn’t help much with my already sore body, and sand particles were still attacking my eyes, but once again, the views made it all worth it. The mountains were so beautiful but almost indescribable, (look at the pictures to see) just trust me. So beautiful. After 2 hours or so, we took a break for lunch. We were joined by a family whose farmland we were seated at, and their amazingly trained dog Shakira. She was only 5 months old but was so much more behaved than my year-old dog. From there it was a walk straight down and a truck ride back to the Black Sheep Inn.

Our work for the day wasn’t over, as soon as we got back we all got a set of note cards to write to every person on our trip. Some of us started writing right away in the dining area, while others decided to put it off until later, and instead played darts, cribbage, relaxed in the sauna, took a nap, or talked with friends. Thats basically all that happened until dinner time, (I don’t know what it was but it was good) and until we all gathered in the yoga studio for our last group forum.

The forum was called seed and stone, and the idea was to reflect on the past 3 weeks and pick out something that you figured out about yourself and want to grow on (seed) and something you want to leave behind (stone). I learned a lot about everyone during this. I feel like we all got even closer. Then we all parted ways and went to bed, knowing there was a long travel day ahead of us.

(Pictures of our Quilotoa hike in previous post)

Hiking Around A Volcano Crater!

Location: Quilotoa to Chugchilan
Author: Skylar S.
Here are some pictures from our hike from the Quilotoa volcano back to Chugchilan! It was an epic and windy hike filled with beautiful vistas and some interaction with indigenous farmers.

Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2016

Yoga And Service Day 2

Location: Chugchilan, Ecuador
Author: Devin W.
Take a look at a few more photos from our second service day in the Andes mountains. Morning yoga with Skylar, work all day and a beautiful sunset to close.

Service Is Still On!

Location: Andes Mountains, Chugchilan
Author: Faris A.

We woke up to a wonderful morning, with a serving of pancakes and the sweet sounds of Frank Sinatra and the choice of relaxing yoga class taught by out guide, Skylar. However, 5 people including me, Katie, Will, Soo and Ajah were out of commission. A nasty head cold had swept through the team and left some of us needing some time to recover. The rest of the group left earlier than yesterday to work, and split into three groups; Eve, Hugo, Ben, David and Rob went to a potato field to hoe the land for new crops, as did Isis, Daisy, Ryan, Josh and Skylar. The other group Felix, Tommy, Cami, Claire, Orlando and Devin went to fix up another trail. They all worked hard with hoes and spades. They smashed the trails and the guides were happy with the outcome.

For those who were working, lunch was taken in the field. Vegetarian sandwiches, carrots, popcorn, an apple and a homemade cookie. They worked through blisters and sore muscles.

Everyone came back exhausted and dirty, fighting each other for first shower before half the group went for a beautiful horse back riding adventure in the valley at sunset. The rest enjoyed an afternoon off, playing darts, resting in their rooms, or visiting the sauna and the hot tub. Others enjoyed the zip line. When the horse back riding group came back, we went for a delicious dinner of barley soup, curried vegetables with rice and chocolate cake.

Later that night, we all met in the yoga room to discuss tomorrows activities and then split up into smaller groups of boys and girls. The forum was about how our perceptions of ourselves can differ from how were perceived by others and thinking about what areas we want to strengthen. Overall, the forum was a great experience for all of us to know the things we are good at and what we can improve on. We all went to bed straight away because it was a hard day of work, but were all excited to hike Quilotoa tomorrow.

Posted: Sat, Jul 30, 2016

Service Work And Self Introspection

Location: Chugchilan
Author: Tom P.

It was our first day in the Andes. Luckily, unlike some of the previous locations, we were allowed to sleep in until around 8:45. We were slated to leave at 9:30 to do some trail work. As I walked into the main lobby of the Black Sheep Inn, I saw a fluffy serving of scrambled eggs accompanied by fresh local Ecuadorian cheese, a homemade English muffin, homemade jam, fresh coffee and tea on the table. All that has to be said about that breakfast is, we all ate very well that morning.

After our delicious breakfast, the group loaded into two separate pickup trucks that would take us to the trail we would be working on. After a ten-minute drive the group arrived at the trail, which was split down the middle by a trench that was no wider than my shoulders. Our goal for the day was to make the path, in Devins own words, as wide as a two-lane highway. Obviously, to make the path that large was inconceivable, but we tried our hardest to make it as wide as possible. This work was strenuous and tedious, but also extremely necessary. Many people in our group played games to pass the time while working through the pain of hoeing the trail. This pain originated from the blisters, which had been caused from the constant hacking at the trail throughout the day. Some of the group, most notably Will and Felix, fought through the pain even though their hands were ripped apart with hot spots and blisters.

After a morning filled with hard work, we all had lunch situated in a cloud forest, surrounded by an endless stream of mist. After lunch (and a 15-minute nap) the group went back to work. Soon after lunch we finally began to witness some of the fruits of our labor as a family of five rode through the newly tilled trail on horseback. Just a few hours before, our group was walking single-file through the narrow trail, and it was extremely satisfying to see that our work had paid off.

At around 4:00 our group headed back to the Inn. There we were divided into two groups, one group, consisting of around 8 people, would explore the lands of Chugchilan on horseback. The other group, which I was a part of, was able to enjoy some quality free time to relax and hang out at the Inn after a hard days work. Most of the free time was spent in either the sauna or the hot tub, which the wonderful manager, Edmundo, had prepared for us ahead of time. Both groups reconvened at 7:00 for dinner, which was a serving of delicious vegetarian lasagna.

After dinner, another forum was held in the yoga room. This forum was a bit different than others, because rather than talking about what we did that day, each group member came up with three words to describe themselves. This was a great experience as it required each member to go deep into thought to analyze themselves. This forum helped each member learn more about their peers, and possibly learn something new about themselves. Once the forum had concluded, everyone went to their respected rooms and called it a night. Looking back on this day really instills the idea that working as a collective is much more productive than working as an individual.

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