On our fourth day here we had an early morning with breakfast at our hotel, before getting in the bus and driving to a farm belonging to the Roman family for our work today. We arrived at the farm and introduced ourselves and learned bout the process of making Ecuadorian style sugar, known as panela, from Don Roman, and got a brief tour of the working site.
After introductions and information, we set out to make pathway ways around the farm with gravel. We split into different groups for the tasks: some shoveling gravel, some moving the wheelbarrows, and some spreading the gravel. Overall, we completed the project relatively quickly and got done to help the Roman family.
After we cleaned our tools off, Don Roman showed us how they press sugar cane and reduce the sugar cane juice into panela. So we set off on a small hike to the river near the farm and enjoyed a refreshing breeze and the water. After about half an hour, we arrived back at Don Roman’s and waited for the sugar to be ready to be made into panela and candy. Once the sugar was ready, we prepared banana stalks to put the sugar in to cool down and enjoy a very delicious sugar candy for ourselves. After making and eating the candy, we helped separate the remaining sugar into squared-off to turn into panela. Once that was done, we were finished with our service at La Bolivaranse and said goodbye to Don Roman and his family, then set off to Nido de Vida for lunch.
Once we arrived at Nido de Vida, we washed up quickly before sitting down for lunch. We were served broccoli and carrot soup for lunch and dipped some popcorn in it. That was followed by some avocado, rice, beans, and sweet plantains. We were all excited and amazed to see a group of toucans after lunch! We washed up our dishes and boots before heading out to the Miranda family house for our next project. By this time, the rain was pouring down hard, and it was a challenging walk uphill, but we were excited to begin painting.
The Miranda family was very kind and gave us some popcorn, and we played with their dogs. All the family members were social and talked to us constantly, even with the language barrier. After finishing up with painting the house, we headed back to Nido de Vida while being soaked from the rain. Back at Nido de Vida, we took an hour-long rest before being served dinner. Dinner consisted of salad, potato pancakes, eggs, and a cup of hot tea. After washing up, we sat down and reflected on what service means to all of us. The bus ride back to the hotel consisted of many laughs and was followed by some ice cream for a few of us.