Global: Session 2 - Lifeworks Galapagos 2

Posted: Mon, Jul 27, 2015

Goodbyes And Farewells

Location: Andes to Quito
Author: Nicolette L.
This morning I woke up on the top floor of our three floor cabin, the sun shining through the window and the beautiful Andes mountains in view. We got ready for breakfast and said our farewells to the Andes, then we all packed on the bus to begin our four hour drive back to Quito. I took a wonderful nap on the bus and then woke up to everyone on the bus attempting to sing along to Taylor Swift. We arrived in Quito around 3 pm and were given three hours to get ready for our last night out and finish our note cards to one another. We walked 10 minutes to a cute little restaurant and finally ate meat for the first time in four days. After that we had our very emotional last forum. Also, James displayed a great slideshow for us recapping the whole trip in eight minutes. Since I’m writing the very last blog, I more than anyone get to reflect on the past amazing three weeks. From snailing and canoe rides in the rain forest to planting trees and snorkeling with sea lions in the Galapagos to hiking and pick-axing dirt cliffs in the Andes, there was never a time where we weren’t presented with something entirely new and different. Not just from our lives back home, but each day brought new adventures and challenges. We got a taste of so many different ways to help out local communities. While on some projects we might have only touched the surface of what needs to be done, we knew we were doing what the local people wanted and needed us to do, and that is the whole point of doing service. Besides helping the community and being submerged in unreal excursions, we used the three weeks to make incredible friends and memories that will last a lifetime. While I’m sad this amazing trip ends tomorrow, I feel so blessed to have been able to participate in this life-changing experience.

Posted: Sun, Jul 26, 2015

Hiking Quilotoa Volcanic Crater

Location: Andes
Author: Mira S.
his day was awesome! As usual we got up and had breakfast at 7:30am. Surprisingly, we didn’t get the usual eggs and bread but some yummy pancakes. At 8:30am, we all hopped on to trucks in small groups. During the ride to Quilotoa crater, we viewed breathtaking scenery. When we got to the top, we all got off, stopped at the small market and did our last shopping for Andean crafts. Then we headed to the platform and took a glance at the huge (still active) volcanic crater. After, we did an exhausting hike around half of the crater ridge and then walked down to the valley to eat lunch. While walking down there was these sand dunes and we all ran down, which was a lot of fun! When we finished lunch, we split up into two groups. The first group continued hiking for three hours on a trail that lead back to the Ecolodge. The second group drove home in the trucks. I decided to go home with the truck because I was sore from the previous day of volunteer work. When we got back, we had the rest of the day off and were able to hang out and relax.

Posted: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

Our Final Service Day – Manual Labor In The Andes

Location: Andes
Author: Anya S.
This morning, Camrin, Alexis, Nicolette and I woke up to a shock – that we were 15 minutes late for breakfast because our alarm didn’t go off due to the one hour time change from the Galapagos to the Andes. Today was our last day of service and in order to finally complete our 100 hours, we had to hike up the mountains carrying our pick-axes and shovels. Although I wasn’t feeling my best, and struggled to make my way up the mountain, I along with Casey finally reached the top after two hours, out of breath but ready to finish our work. We chipped away at the side of the mountain to widen and level out the trail so it would be easier to walk on. Although the dirt looked like it would be solid rock, it was actually loose dirt so it wasn’t too hard, but what actually made the work so difficult was the intensely strong gusts of wind that blew the dirt and the dust everywhere. And by everywhere, I mean literally everywhere. While the walk up the mountain was tough – especially due to the fact we were extremely high up to begin with – the walk back down was extremely fun and exciting considering Nicolette and I were running to get first shower. Once we were back at the lodge, we got three hours of free time during which I took the opportunity to take an incredibly relaxing nap. We had our daily group meeting at 6:00pm and rushed to dinner an hour later where we enjoyed a delicious all-vegetarian dish in the Ecolodge. We finished the night off together, hanging out and writing cards for each other.

P.S. Pictures included from other group that did service work the day before.

Posted: Fri, Jul 24, 2015

Horseback Riding through the Andes

Location: Andes
Author: Matthew C.
Waking up to the breathtaking views of the Andean landscape is something that none of us will ever forget. At breakfast, everyone was ecstatic for the upcoming day. We were again split into two groups – one group going on a horseback ride while the other group did community service. I was in the horseback riding group. We all had to wait in anticipation for an hour as the horses were delayed, but once they arrive we chose out horses for the journey ahead and headed out into the Andean mountains. Our first leg of the horseback ride was very enjoyable for most of us. One of the boys managed to fall off his horse and ended up with some scrapes, but nothing too bad. At the front of the pack, we raced our horses, which was a lot of fun. The views throughout the horseback ride were spectacular, however none of the views compared to the view of the cloud forest. This is the location that was chosen for lunch, and everyone really needed this time to recharge after the long, bumpy ride. After lunch our guide led us on a short walk through the forest as he talked to us about the surrounding enjoyable, but everyone was starting to ache by this point. When we got back to the Ecolodge, we had a few hours of free time before dinner. The expectations for dinner were not that high as it was going to be vegetarian, however we were all pleasantly surprised as it was delicious.

Posted: Thu, Jul 23, 2015

A Long, Eventful Travel Day To The Andes

Location: Galapagos to Andes
Author: Kate W.
When I volunteered to write the blog for a travel day, I thought I would just end up writing about getting on and off planes and buses. I was totally wrong. The day started off nicely with a later breakfast, so we got to sleep in. Jill’s accident count increased by one (before 9:00am) when she broke a glass, but luckily nobody was hurt. After breakfast, we packed our lunches. Instead of the normal peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we got to make veggie burritos with tons of guacamole! A lot of us struggled to wrap them, myself included, but in the end they still tasted great! We got on a bus with bulging bags and headed to the airport. To get there we had to take a 5 minute ferry. Our bags were on top of the boat, and I was nervous that they would fall, but we made the trip with no problems. The day was beautiful, and we were all sad to leave such a beautiful place. The water was so blue, and the breeze felt great. Unfortunately, the peacefulness was soon shattered. Alex from Greece got stung by a wasp (yet again), so he decided to wash off the sting in salt water. He walked down a sloped path and started to slide. Everyone started staring as he slowly slid closer and closer to the water. He managed to somehow hurl his backpack away to save it, but he splashed in with his Ray Bans and iPod. Somehow he was in good spirits and didn’t freak out. Luckily he still had his bag, so he was able to change into dry clothes. After that fiasco, we hopped on a four-hour plane ride. Some people slept and others listened to music. We embarked on our four-hour bus ride singing and munching on pizza. By the end we were all shivering and exhausted, and it felt great to finally walk into a warm lodge. We arrived around 11:00pm and were ready for our much needed sleep. It was an exhausting day, but we are all glad to have finally made it to the Andes.

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