Growing up my family had always gone on vacation and traveled central and south America. From July 2009 to January 2010, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Ecuador with my mother and father. Since my father is a Pastor, we decided to go on a mission trip to the town Ayacucho, in the province ManabÃ. We’ve visited there before because this is where my grandmother on my mother’s side lives.
It is a very small & undeveloped town, with two long rivers going down each side of it. There is a very large old-age Catholic cathedral in the middle of the town square and all weddings and Sweet 15’s were held there. In front of the cathedral was a small park, it was the only thing in that town that had been recently remodeled in the past three years. This was the gathering spot for festivals, parties, and dances. There wasn’t much to do in the town. Except for work on the fields, take care of animals, and go to school. The schools were small and made of brick. Their windows were square holes in the wall with bars instead of glass and the roofs were made of metal with no drop ceiling.
The schools were separated in two; 1st through 6th was elementary school (“la escuela”) and 7th-12th was high school (“colegio”). I attended the 5th year of junior high school which would be equivalent to 11th grade for Americans. I had to wear a uniform, and I was even a cheerleader for the school. I had many friends and I still keep in contact with them to this day.
The church – my father preached in and my family served in – was newly built and rather large. There is a larger population of children than there are adults that attend the church weekly. The church grows slowly and steadily, but they are fired up and the members who attend help out with church events all the time. My heart is to go back yearly and help them out for a few weeks to a month or so. They are beautiful people and really are living in poverty. I love to show people from other countries things that I know, give them gifts, and just be their friends.
Many people would see a town like this and be disgusted, become bored, and plainly not like it at all. From living in the USA all my life, and traveling at least one week each year to somewhere new, I’ve realized something. We can’t be too close-minded about things. We need to be very optimistic and open to new cultures. I like to get out there and meet people and learn customs, eat food and delicious treats that I’m not used to, listen to their music, and live their lives. It’s a beautiful experience you only get to live once, so I always make the best of it.
There are too many experiences to tell but they were beautiful ones that I will keep in my heart forever. I have a few videos so you can maybe see what the town looked like that I lived in for 7 months. I hope you enjoy. If I win this scholarship some I will use for my tuition and if you guys allow it, I’d love to send some to my grandmother’s church to help her out. Please watch all of the videos, they are fairly short. Thank you very much!
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