Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Reflections On My Ecuador Trip

Before I begin, I wanted to let you all know that unlike my other travel posts on the blog, this one is going to be only text, so if you usually visit to skim through photos (#guilty), I apologize in advance. 

Last week I had the privilege to spend 10 days accompanying a group of 12 students and another staff member on an immersion trip to Ecuador. You may be wondering, what is an immersion trip? Basically, an immersion trip is an experience in which the participants travel to a location (either domestic or abroad) and immerse themselves in the culture and community they are visiting. A well-done immersion does not intend to simply enter a community to fix a problem, build houses, etc. but rather enters in a community to listen and learn. For my students, these trips are beautiful opportunities to step out of their college bubble and be exposed to realities other than their own. These trips remind them that no matter what career path they choose, they effect the world. 

We all do. 

There's plenty more that I could say and explain, but I'll spare you. (Unless you want to know more, in which case I could passionately go on for a very long time.)

The trip was absolutely incredible! We spent our time living in a beautiful community where we were warmly greeted by everyone we encountered all week. We spent a good portion of the time sitting and listening to the wise stories of our neighbors who graciously answered any and all questions we had about their community and Ecuador as a whole. Their abundance of hospitality, love and generosity in the midst of such deep economic poverty was truly inspirational.

On two mornings, our group visited a foundation that houses and cares for those living with Hansen’s disease (more commonly known as leprosy). The director of the foundation is a wonderful woman whose copious amount of love for everyone is palpable. She and the rest of the foundation strive to ensure that each of the participants (who are often looked upon as outcasts) are treated with the kindness and dignity all people deserve.

While at this organization, I had the privilege to engage in a conversation with a gentleman who lived there and it was one of the biggest highlights of my trip. Since I speak very little Spanish and he doesn’t speak any English, we had quite the language barrier. Yet, even with limited verbal understanding, I had an absolutely incredible exchange of communication with this man who shared so much patience and kindness with me as I fumbled through the few Spanish words and phrases I do know. That conversation and the immersion experience as a whole is something that I know will remain in my heart.

This is just a peak into my brief time in Ecuador. I am purposefully leaving out names of people and places, simply out of respect for them and the community. It is for that same reason that this post lacks any pictures.

The trip, my students, and the wonderful people I encountered were also great reminders of a desire in myself to remain present to those around me. Once again, I find myself caught in the familiar tension of balancing a love of clothing and style while recognizing I own way more than I need and far more than many have access to. 

This is not a new conflict for me. It is one I have wrestled with for many years. What is new, is my blog. As I continue to reflect and think about what having a blog means when juxtaposed with this reality I can't help to acknowledge that something may need to shift. I'm not sure exactly what or how much yet, but you know me, I will keep you posted.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Sounds like an incredible trip! I love that you were able to overcome language barriers to have such a touching conversation.

    xo Jen
    Skirt The Rules

    1. Thanks Jen! It's really amazing what you're able to convey with simply kindness and a smile :) Peace, Sarah