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July 19, 2021

We are so excited to share what we have been doing! We have had an amazing first three days. We all arrived in Houston on July 13 and met everyone except Jesus and Maria, who we met later at La Granja. Jesus and Maria are from La Costa de Ecuador and took a bus to La Granja. All of the members of this trip are super friendly and outgoing. We then flew to Quito, where we met one of our amazing project coordinators, Sofia. Then we had a scenic flight to Cuenca. Next we took a bus to La Granja. Upon arrival, we met the other warm and welcoming project coordinators: Cait, Caro, and Pablo.

La Granja Integral Learnaya is home-y with an amazing sense of community. La Granja is a farm with lots of animals, like cows, sheep, chickens, dogs, and cats, and lucious vegetation, like vibrant flowers and towering trees. There are many different trails and areas to explore. With a simple glance outside a window, you can see the beautiful city Cuenca. We have been lucky so far with the amazing weather.

Our schedule has been packed with a variety of wonderful activities. The recurring activities are fun, interactive Spanish classes and farm work, which includes spreading natural fertilizer, herding cows to water, making a pathway from rocks, and weeding the gardens all while taking in the breathtaking views. Our Spanish has already improved since we arrived due to the Spanish lessons and almuerzos en español (lunches in Spanish). We have also had the opportunity to give back to La Granja through serving, cleaning, and cooking. Speaking of food, it has been delightful. The other fun activities include fútbol, dynámicas (icebreakers), intense games of Jeopardy, excursions de La Granja, and thoughtful group discussions. Though free time has been sparse, we have spent it making friendship bracelets, which has been a great bonding experience.

We can’t wait to fully interact with each other without masks or social distancing. So excited for the rest of the trip!

Matthew, Emma, Josie, Karuna, Leah, and Zuzi

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