Shoes. Most of us have many pairs. I know I do. But what if you only had one or two? This was the case of many of the kids I met in Quito, Ecuador. I went there on a ten day trip in the summer of 2008. My church and I brought down over 600 pairs; each day we washed, lotioned, powdered, and shoed about a hundred little Ecuadorian feet. If you ever do this kind of a service trip though bringing many goods to give away, I would suggest checking things out with the customs department of the country you are visiting. We almost did not get our shoes through, which was the purpose of our entire trip. Before we started visiting churches and giving away shoes though, my team of people did a few bonding activities in Ecuador. Over the course of two days we traveled to the Equator, tubed down a river, ate in local restaurants, went ziplining, hiked to a waterfall, and drank lots of fresh fruit juice in the city of Mindo. We always had to be careful what we were eating and drinking though since there is much bacteria in the water of South American countries. We had a native woman who was our translator and a tour guide with us. She helped us to pick out safe places to go. All these experiences, however, let our team have time to get to know each other better and support one another. We saw the tricklings of this when we were doing the service project. When we understood one another we could relate better. That made everything much more fun. The best part of the trip though was being with the children though. The Ecuadorian people were very excited to have us come to where they were. Even though they had little they treated us with the utmost hospitality. And even though most of the kids had almost nothing they appreciated even the smallest thing like a pair of shoes. They completely changed my perspective on life and what should really mean they most. I encourage every one I know to take this kind of a trip where you bring something to the people to the country. Because you really will get more than you ever thought you could.
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