By Amanda Cohen, Mitzvah Corps Ecuador 2017 Participant
By the time our small Ecuador-bound group got onto the plane, I felt as if I’d already known each other for years. Though the number of girls greatly outnumbered the boys, everyone quickly felt a part of our Mitzvah Corps Ecuador family. Upon landing and getting to our hostel in Quito, we were all beyond exhausted. That didn’t stop us from all staying up late and chatting for hours. I’m so lucky to be able to experience something like this and even more lucky to have such a wonderful group of people experiencing it with me.
What I find most striking about Ecuador isn’t the people in my group or the locals, who are all extremely kind and welcoming, but the land itself, which is incredibly beautiful in varying ways. The perfect example of this is the view from my room, which I share with two other participants, Sam and Marisa, at our host house in Chilcapamba. The house itself belongs to Alfonso, who has been our guide throughout our time in the village. Alfonso and his family support the work of groups like ours, so they have chosen to provide a place to host these groups. In the house, our room has two windows; out of one is a phenomenal view of the mountains, but out of the other is a view of a rundown park and an empty field. Despite the huge difference in aesthetics, both of these views are incredibly breathtaking. I am constantly stunned by the absolutely outstanding scenery and how surreal it feels to be here.
I can’t wait to see what we do next. I am excited to strengthen my bonds with the other participants in this beautiful country.