Amazon Closing Thoughts

We had a nice last day leaving Huasquila and returning to Quito. The day started at 4am with a Guayusa (traditional indigenous tea) ceremony at the Kichwa village nearby the lodge. Having visited a few times already, we were welcomed like friends and the local kids trickled in to say bye on their way to school (and exchange facebook information with the students!). A nice departing surprise was that the road to Quito reopened yesterday, so we took the short way back and only spent 4 hours in the bus! We are now at a nice inn in Quito, having just finished dinner and about to start a closing circle before the flight home tomorrow. As a final blog post the students each shared one takeaway from their experience in Ecuador with Sustainable Summer. Enjoy their reflections and a few photos from this week, and we look forward to seeing you all soon!

Thomas – Step out of your comfort zone and take risks every so often. Whether it be exploring a cave or traveling abroad on your own, these experiences will help you grow as a person. 😉

Tommy – I plan to take away the mindset that I strengthened through this trip about how I perceive the problems of the world outside the US, and how they differ from how people usually view them.

Jordan – Sustainability and the rest of the world’s problems aren’t something we can just go and solve. All need to be approached in their own unique way, and with that we need to look at the whole picture, not just the obvious issues.

Derek – Perspective matters. Wikipedia praises President Correa for kickstarting the Ecuadorian economy–something that us Westerners, immersed in our lives of comfort, see as only a positive for a nation. But when I spoke to both Miguel and Pablo about how they actually live, you understand that there is a lot more. Corruption is rampant, and life is no better than it was before.

Luke – The excitement and appreciation the people of Ecuador have when they meet people, like us, who are learning about the issues they face and trying to find a solution. I also learned how amazing the culture in South America is and the fact that you have to be open to that culture or you will be missing out on a great experience.

Lucy – The importance of immersing yourself in a new culture–of a foreign country or of sustainability–in order to really recognize its nuances and idiosyncrasies, as well as see past the misconceptions or possible stigma established by the society in which you typically reside.

Teah – My major takeaway from Ecuador is how open and happy the locals are. They are proud about their culture. For example, they are informative about guyusa and chicha. In the guyusa ceremony they showed us different ways to make guyusa and chicha into dinks for your health.

Emma – The importance of living in the present and accepting others as they are. This trip has made me appreciate indigenous cultures, the world surrounding us, and the importance of making friends wherever you travel, regardless of different backgrounds.

Zora – I appreciated how open and willing the Kichwa people were to other cultures, specifically Western culture, while also retaining their own traditions. I would like to support more small time farmers because I also learned that they are exploited rather frequently, I’m going to start by using “small time farm” coffee in my schools rather than large industries.

Hannah – The resilience of nature and the passion in youth pave the road towards a more sustainable future.




Soccer with the kids, Amazon style. Honored to be received with so much generosity by our Kichwa friends from Nueve Julio.

A photo posted by Sustainable Summer (@sustainablesummer) on Jul 4, 2015 at 11:13pm PDT