Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Inca Link Internship: Week Four

June 17:
Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Sorry I couldn’t actually say that on June 17—I didn’t really have Internet. Anyway, today was basically our day for the interns to relax at the mission school, having it pretty much all to ourselves all day. And I’m so glad we had it, because it gave me a lot of needed time to process what the heck I was going to do about my camera. And after a little time, I was able to finally tell God, “Okay, God, I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in this situation, but I know You will turn it into something great.” (The idea of trusting God in everything has been the one idea that I think I’m going to take home, which I’m really happy about.) And even though that whole situation happened, God still made a way for me: I brought two cameras with me, and since they only took one, there was nothing that was going to stop me from making a video in Huaticocha. Also, that afternoon, Jim, who was going to be working with Mark and Cheryl full-time (I’m pretty sure), came down to the school and was a huge comfort for us. That night, we all prayed together, and my main request was: “God, whatever happens, I want this trip to end on a high note.”

June 18:
In the morning, the interns cut down some grass in the back of the property with machetes. But what we did then had little impact compared to that afternoon, when the team finally came. The group was from Daybreak Alliance Church in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, made up of two teenagers and thirteen adults. Not quite what I was expecting, but man, were these guys fun. Most of them I didn’t actually meet until we actually got to the school where they were to do their first VBS, but once they got going, the day was so much. I guess you could call it a standard missionary VBS: a few songs in Spanish, a Bible story, some crafts, and a memory verse. But I could tell it was going to be a fun week already.

June 19:
Our days with Daybreak had a pretty standard routine: breakfast, morning devotions, construction for three hours or so, lunch, going to a river to swim or bathe, VBS at a local school, dinner, and evening debrief. So I guess there wasn’t a whole lot of new things that we did, but let me tell you, it was so much fun to actually be able to work with a team. For a week, we interns were in Huaticocha just getting ready for them, and now they were here. And even as we were digging dirt along the house being built, I was enjoying getting to know the people on the team—particularly the guys: Scott, Matt, both Brian’s, Sean, Dana, Mike, and Hunter (the youngest guy, a senior in high school). That afternoon, we went to the same school as yesterday to do VBS, and it was great being able to hang out with the kids, which I hadn’t done since we visited Ganas.

June 20:
Today had the same kind of schedule as yesterday, with a few changes. In the morning, most of the guys spent about an hour and a half somewhere else, at a local daycare where we dug sand and spread it for them to use as a playground for the kids. This was the cloudiest day, and it rained a little, but despite everything, we enjoyed ourselves and worked hard. As Mike and Brian put it, we were in “beast mode”. That afternoon, we swam in the same river, except we went farther down to the spot where we canoed during training. The school where we were to do VBS (a different school from the last two days) was within walking distance, and we did pretty much the same kinds of things as before. That night, though, was an adventure: we had dinner at Pastor Ivan’s house, cooked by his wife Nancy, who made these pretty darn good tamales. Except somehow, onions were in it, and Jen, wife of one of the Brian’s, is very allergic to onions. Praise the Lord that all she needed was Benadryl and that she didn’t have to go to the hospital!

June 21:
We were all determined to make today, our last full day of work, one of our best. More digging, more swimming, and more VBS, but it all still went really smoothly, despite a couple people getting slightly sick. And I forgot to mention—over the past couple days, I had been shooting video of the group at construction, at VBS, and at evening debrief, and I will say, I think this video is going to turn out really nice. Hopefully I’ll be able to get all these videos done before I turn 20!

June 22:
By the way, I turn 20 a month from today. Anyhow, around 7:30 in the morning, the time came for the team to split up. Half of the team was going into Peas (pronounced pay-ahs), deeper into the jungle to visit a group of people who some of them had worked with before. (Last year, Daybreak took a team there and held the first church service ever in Peas—twelve people accepted Christ!) The other half was going back to Quito this afternoon, so after saying our goodbye, the Peas team left (along with Derek and Aaron, who I’m really going to miss, and Jim, Mark, and Cheryl), and the other half worked a few hours of construction before we had lunch, had afternoon devotions, and finally got our bus (which had dropped the Peas team off and then had to return for us, a six-hour trip) to get us back to Quito! Looking back, I probably looked like a lunatic when Ana and I got off the bus, squealing as we saw Bethany and Jen for the first time in a week or more. But it was so nice to be back, and it was so nice to see Fabian and Mabe again.

June 23:
I’m starting to think that my days here are becoming more and more bittersweet. In the morning, Gustavo came and joined us as we visited Mitad del Mundo (Center of the World), the museum of the equator, which was pretty darn cool. That was the one spot that I actually didn’t get to go to on day six of the Amazing Race, so I was glad I finally got to see it. After that, we had lunch at a local empanadas shop, where the food was very filling… but maybe a little too filling, since a couple people started having some stomach pains afterwards. But after that, we got to do a little shopping at a local market, where I finally got to buy some souvenirs for my mom, dad, and brother. Hopefully they like what they get! I also was finally able to find some Inca Kola, which I am totally bringing home with me. And once we all finished, we all just hung out at CasaBlanca until dinner and a final debrief, and then the interns joined the Daybreak team as we took them to the airport to catch their flights home. I told them that hopefully, when I go to visit family in State College (which isn’t too far away from them), I’d try to visit their church. Hope that wish comes true!

June 24:
Here it is, my last full day in South America this summer. I was able to wake up early enough to get most of my stuff packed in the morning, and after a nice last breakfast of French toast by Bethany, we all headed over to the church where Gustavo, Fabian, and Mabe attend in Quito, where they were celebrating their fifth-year anniversary. The service, I kid you not, was three-and-a-half hours long, including a little lunch at the end. So not quite what I was expecting, but it was still nice to go to another Spanish church while I was here—I honestly think seeing these different churches has opened my eyes a little more to the diversity of the body of Christ. And once we got back to CasaBlanca, I got my boarding passes printed and the rest of my things packed, and for dinner, the girls made me lasagna and decorated the kitchen for a little going-away party for me! And that night, I pulled an all-nighter (along with a couple other interns) as I waited for Davíd, the man who lives at Casa Elizabeth (a side property of CasaBlanca), to drive me to the Quito airport at 4:30 A.M.

June 25:
You’d think today would be an easy day just because all I was doing was flying back home. Nope. Once Davíd and the interns dropped me off at the airport and said goodbye, I ended up getting to my first gate just in time, after having to wait in long lines going through boarding passes and security. But the first flight left on schedule, and by 1:15 P.M., I was at the Miami airport waiting for another flight to take me to New York at 2:00. However, because of bad weather by the New York LaGuardia airport, my flight was delayed about two hours, as was the flight to Cleveland afterwards. But God worked everything out—when I got to New York, I was totally on time for the flight, and at the gate, I ran into a group of students and teachers from Brunswick High School, my alma mater, who were taking the same flight after their week-long trip to France! And we all arrived in Cleveland at 11:30 P.M., safe and sound, where my parents and brother were waiting to greet me.

That may be the end of my trip, but I can guarantee that God’s not done growing me. The rest of the summer, I will not only be editing all the videos I shot for Inca Link, but I will also be a youth advisor at my church, which will also give me more opportunities to trust in God everyday. My prayer is that the things I learned on this trip would never die down, that I would continually wake up in the morning and commit my day to the Lord. Thank you for reading, and I promise that starting next week, I’m going back to talking about movies!

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Inca Link Internship: Week Three

June 10:
Today was spent with the Brown family, which I really enjoyed. Rich and Elisa took us to an Alliance church in Quito in the early afternoon, where the pastor talked about Job and suffering, which is a message that I needed to hear even a week after what happened to Brunswick. Afterwards, we all went to their apartment to get changed and put on sunscreen, and we went straight to the soccer stadium to catch the Ecuador-Colombia fútbol game! I don’t think I’ve ever been to an actual soccer game before, let alone one outside the United States. Ecuador ended up winning 1-0 (a pretty lame score, in my opinion, but I’ll take what I can get), but it was still a pretty cool experience.

June 11:
I like to refer to today as the calm before the storm. While Derek and Ana were with another short-term team from Atlanta (that we didn’t really work with much) working with Oswaldo and Denise at an orphanage in Quito, and Jen was in Quito hanging out with a couple kids that she sponsors from Compassion International, Aaron, Bethany, and I spent the day preparing to go back to Huaticocha. Today we basically just determined who was going to Huaticocha and for how long. I was to be there from June 12 to June 22, coming back with half of our first team to Ecuador. There were a lot of mixed emotions today, but I was glad to be able to actually start working with a team!

June 12:
At six in the morning, Bethany, Derek, Ana, Aaron, Shelby the pseudo-intern, and I took a couple buses and eventually ended up safely in Huaticocha, Ecuador, after helping Mark and Cheryl Shafer that morning move a bunch of stuff from where they were staying in Quito onto a “moving truck” that would end up at the mission school we visited during training. It was a little stressful just making sure we were getting on the right buses, but we made it fine, and we got ourselves situated in the rooms on the school’s second floor, mosquito nets and all. (Yeah, we had to put those up. We were living dangerously in Huaticocha.)

June 13:
Today was our first full day of work in Huaticocha, and what a blessing it turned out to be. Not only did Derek, Aaron, Ana, and I get to work together to clean out the shed we would be using, but I also got to help Shelby and Ulíses, a local worker who was a huge help to us all while we were in Huaticocha, saw wood to be used to make benches for our debriefing room as well as a shelf for kitchen supplies. I don’t ever remember using a manual saw for something like that before, but either way, I can say that I did it!

June 14:
Another work day in Huaticocha got me closer to the local workers there. There were basically four guys that worked at the school, doing a lot of construction work there: Harenan, his father Pedro, Daniel, and Daniel’s brother-in-law Danilo. Also joining them was Daniel’s wife Delia, who was our cook for most of the days. Let me tell you, these guys rocked. They worked really hard, and they were extremely patient with all of us interns as our Spanish was pretty shaky most of the time. As far as work went today, the main thing was mixing cement to lay the foundation for a small house by the mission school where Mark and Cheryl would stay. I hadn’t mixed cement since I was in Trujillo—and here, we didn’t have an actual cement mixer; we literally had to do it manually by shovels. What an adventure this is turning out to be!

June 15:
I didn’t mention that yesterday, Mark and Cheryl actually left to go back to Quito to greet the incoming team Saturday. So today was our first full day where it was just the English-speaking interns and the mostly-Spanish-speaking workers. But with the help of Ulíses and trying hard to remember Spanish well, we were able to manage. The majority of our day was spent creating steps down a hill that led from the school to the house, steps that we made using rocks, sand, and wooden pieces. I’m pretty proud of what we were able to make. In the morning, also, Shelby and Bethany took a bus back to Quito where they were to stay and help around CasaBlanca and stuff, along with Jen who was already there.

June 16:
It’s going to be hard telling you about today. The morning was fine—my time was spent mostly with the local pastor Ivan trying to run a water line close by the school. That night, we had been asked to attend his church and lead a couple worship songs, which we were very excited about. That afternoon, we had planned to go to the river by the Nueva Esperanza (where that really tall bridge was that we jumped from during training), and before we left, Derek realized that his digital camera was missing from its case. A little worried, I checked my own suitcase. The Canon Vixia camcorder that I had bought and brought along to make a video in Huaticocha was missing, along with all its own accessories. (Praise the Lord, however, that the camera was all that was missing; my money, passport, clothes, and everything else were untouched.) So Derek and I talked to Ulíses about it, and he called the police. They came, and this is where the day really got hard. They called in all the workers, and we all went to the police station in Coca where they were to be questioned. Derek and I weren’t, but Harenan, Daniel, and Danilo were, and we could hear the police smacking them from outside the interrogation room. We felt horrible. But praise the Lord that He gave us the ability to tell the workers that we never blamed them for anything, and that we were still able to go to church and worship God. And I can tell you now that this situation was still able to be resolved, even though it wasn’t quite what I would have wanted. But more on that Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Inca Link Internship: Week Two

June 3:
Today we took a break from the Amazing Race and went to a retreat center in Quito, where we did a ton of team-building exercises in the morning and then some training in the afternoon where we learned about Inca Link’s mission, its history, and its values that we as interns should follow. After that, we went over some information about ourselves—two nights before, we had taken the “Leading From Our Strengths” tests about what we like and don’t like in leadership, which was pretty neat. That night, we took another test about our spiritual gifts, which is something I had never done before, and so it was really eye-opening for me. But later that night is what I really benefited from: a few of the interns had our own little church service around a bonfire, singing songs and reading Scripture and praying. One prayer request I had was about something I learned that morning, about a car accident in Brunswick that left four students, two of whom I knew, dead. I hope that the fact that people are praying for them in another continent gives those families some encouragement.

June 4:
In another day of training, we spent the morning talking about the results of our spiritual gifts test. After lunch, we did some more physical team-building exercises at a ropes course at the retreat center. This, for me, was the most strenuous day—I am not used to this kind of thing so it was a little tough for me to do all the stuff. But I did most of it, and later that day, we all went on a 40-foot rock-climbing wall at the center, which was the first time I’ve ever climbed all the way up on one of those things. I’m so proud of myself! Later that night, we made hot dogs and s’mores over a bonfire, and then went to the Quito airport to greet some more Inca Link missionaries that had just arrived, who you’ll hear a little about later.

June 5:
Here it is: the last day of the Amazing Race. For today, all the Ecuador interns got in one group, and all the Peru interns got into another, to do challenges that started at the retreat center and went around the local town. And boy was this an interesting day: in one day, I got to climb yet another mountain, touch a llama, pick up trash along a street in Quito, and even drink milk directly from a cow that I helped milk myself (which, I’ll admit, didn’t taste that bad). However, our last challenge was kind of a bummer: while three members of our team slid down a zipline, three others shot at them with paintball guns, and we got 200 points for every hit. Ana, the brave soul that she is, went down the zipline, and in the process got pretty bruised. But after everything was over, she ended up getting second place in the Amazing Race, with Brent in first and Derek in third! After that, we had a little more training, talking about our creative projects (which I’ll explain later), and then we left the retreat center. That night, we all had pizza at the Brown’s house, and then Ana, Derek, Jen, Aaron, Bethany, and I had to say goodbye to everybody going back to Trujillo, which was pretty sad. But that night, I was pretty excited at the same time: the Amazing Race was over, and my time as an Inca Link intern was really starting!

June 6:
Well, I guess it didn’t really start immediately; today we were given the whole day to relax, get groceries to last us for about a week, and go to a couple other places close by in Quito. So using a bunch of spending money provided to us by Inca Link, all of us Ecuador interns got a bunch of groceries from the local supermarket at the mall, Mega-Maxi (the name of which was the butt of many jokes from Matt and other guys in the group). And that night for dinner, we made our own French bread pizza with salad and drinks! Fabian and Mabe, who run CasaBlanca but live in another home close by, came over for dinner and later took us out to Quito to see places in the town, including a pizza shop, a DVD store, and getting ice cream. It was really nice to have a break after the Amazing Race, I’ll be honest. I’m just hoping the Peru interns are doing okay—today they were driving pretty much all day back to Trujillo, which could take about thirty hours of driving in buses.

June 7:
This morning, we visited one of the local sites of ministry in Quito that we didn’t actually get to visit during the Amazing Race. In Quito, there’s a convent called Ganas where children stay whose parents are in prison. So Gustavo took all the Ecuador interns there, plus one named Shelby who’s sort of a pseudo-intern in Quito this summer, and we all had a couple hours to play with the kids there. It brought back a lot of memories for me when I was in Trujillo, playing with the kids at the daycare center or the garbage dumps. After that, though, we all got to see the new facility that Inca Link is trying to buy for those kids: a large house called Tesoros, which is pretty darn nice despite a little water damage on the walls. Hopefully that will work out for those guys. Once we got back to CasaBlanca, we had a little time to eat lunch, relax, eat dinner, and then talk about all our personal goals this summer.

June 8:
In the morning, Gustavo took us Ecuador interns back to Ganas to be with the children again for a few hours. Today, they were celebrating kids’ birthdays, and we even got to sing briefly for Bethany, who turned twenty today! But after we left, we still didn’t get to CasaBlanca for a while. First, we had lunch at Crepes & Waffles, a restaurant with… well, mostly crepes and waffles, which were pretty delicious. Then we went grocery shopping again at Mega-Maxi for some more food, including some ice cream and frozen foods… which unfortunately melted a tiny bit in the couple of hours they ended up being in our suburban. But dinner was good, with even a cake for Bethany, and that night, we got to welcome a short-term team from Albuquerque that’s not working with Inca Link but was staying at CasaBlanca for a couple nights.

June 9:
For most of today, we were at the new apartment of a new family of Inca Link missionaries in Quito, painting walls before they moved in their furniture. Their names are Oswaldo (I’m pretty sure that’s spelled right) and Denise, with a 3-year-old daughter named Sara who Ana got to play with most. Once we got back to CasaBlanca, Jen, Aaron, and Derek (who all go to the same college in Iowa) went out to see a professor of theirs who was just leaving Quito, while Bethany and Ana taught me how to make fettuccini alfredo with homemade garlic bread and fruit salad. Mom, you’d be so proud! (Except the sauce for the pasta tasted a little sketchy to me. I’ll just say it’s because it’s from another country…)

And now that you've read about my second week in South America, you'll be waiting for week three. Well, unfortunately, as you read this, I am in Huaticocha again, working with my first (and, sadly, only)  team of students, and I do not have Internet access. So I will definitely let you know about my third week here, but I won't be able to post anything on Wednesday the 20th. At the earliest, I can post something on Friday the 22nd. But thanks for reading, and I look forward to sharing more about my trip with you soon!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Inca Link Internship: Week One

     In July 2008, I went with my youth group from my church back home on a mission trip to Trujillo, Peru, to do ministry with an organization called Inca Link International. Inca Link is headquartered in North Carolina, but their ministry can be found in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and other countries. That was my first mission trip, and I still believe that was the most powerful trip I ever went on. And after we went, my friends and I all started talking about wanting to go back someday to the sites we did ministry at.

     Four years later, I did it. In 2011, I got approved to be an intern with Inca Link in the summer of 2012, which would not only mean I would be able to see a lot of places I remembered from Trujillo, but I’d be able to serve in more ministries that Inca Link has in Quito, Ecuador. Now, before we actually lead teams and youth groups and stuff, all the interns have training together. And for training, Inca Link has their own version of “The Amazing Race”, where the interns get into groups and do challenges together around the cities where Inca Link works. That’s what my first week was, and I’m going to do my best to go through each step of that first week for all of you who are wondering what I’m doing in South America.

May 25, 2012:
Left on a flight from Cleveland to Atlanta, which would then take me into Lima, Peru, at 11:00 PM. Another intern named Georgia Ann was on that second flight, so I got to make a connection very quickly. When we arrived in Lima, we were greeted by Abby and Brent, who are also serving with Inca Link. Abby is more of a supervisor, while Brent is another intern but a little older than the rest of us. After meeting them, I got to meet the interns that had already arrived: Ana and Kyle from Ohio; Aaron and Jen from Iowa; Derek from Minnesota; and Christina from Pennsylvania. So from the airport, we took taxis to a local hotel where we stayed the night.

May 26:
That morning, after a couple more interns—Bethany from California and Heather from Pennsylvania—arrived, we all took a big charter bus sort of thing on a nine-hour bus ride from Lima to Trujillo. When we arrived finally that night, we got to see most of the missionaries we would be working with throughout the summer, including Rich and Lisa Brown and their family, Gustavo Cadena, and Lisa Merritt, all of whom I met in Trujillo four years before. Also there I met Matt from Michigan, who got there a little later than the rest of us. So after meeting with them, the interns that would serve in Ecuador sent their luggage ahead with the Browns so we would have less stuff to carry from Trujillo, and we all headed to the children’s home we would be staying at. Inca Link has been building a children’s home in Trujillo for a few years, which my youth group did work for in 2008, and it was extremely powerful to see how far it’s come since then.

May 27:
The first day of The Amazing Race took place in Trujillo, but in more of a mountainous region with a lake. Challenges included: swimming across a lake and back (not a big one, thank goodness); two people out of each group of four sand boarding down a pretty big mountain; finding sixteen tadpoles in the lake and catching them, which was kind of a pain for me; learning a local dance; translating one of Inca Link’s mission statements onto a poster from Spanish to English; and, my favorite, eating cow stomachs and chicken feet. I can’t wait to go home and tell people I ate that stuff. Later that night, after cleaning off, we went to a church in Trujillo associated with my denomination, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, where the pastor was doing a series on marriage based around the movie “Fireproof”. They even showed a clip of the movie dubbed in Spanish! For somebody like me, it was really moving to see that.

May 28:
The next day, our groups were switched around a little bit, and we started doing more challenges in the actual city of Trujillo. We started out around the children’s home in the lands surrounding it, with challenges like finding a rock of a certain size and building bricks outside of the children’s home. Then we started taking buses into Trujillo for more challenges: we washed windows at a local daycare center (another place I remember serving at); we danced outside a city street with an Inca Link poster; one member of each group had to stay on a surfboard in the Pacific Ocean for five seconds (outside a market that I shopped at four years ago); and at the beach, we had to use plastic cups to basically build a sandcastle. That I think was my favorite day of the Race, not only because my group was actually pretty awesome and did really well, but also I ended up seeing a lot of places I had been to before. However, that was sadly the end of my time in Trujillo: that night, we got on a bus to head towards the border of Peru and Ecuador.

May 29:
That morning, we got off the bus, we got on another one, and then Gustavo drove us all in an Inca Link van across the border into Ecuador. So total, we traveled about 24 hours from Trujillo to our next destination. That place was El Carmen, where the interns got to stay with Inca Link missionaries for the night. Before we went to bed, the other guys I was staying with and I got to pray for that family… which I’m pretty sure was the first time I’ve ever prayed in Spanish.

May 30:
That day, we did more challenges around El Carmen, starting with going to a banana plantation and learning how to take plátanas out of a tree, clean them, and box them to be shipped around the world. (We got to eat some, too, and they were darn good!) After that, we got to hear the testimony of a pastor at an Alliance church across the street from the plantation, and we all got to pray for him. After that, we eventually got into the city, where Brent and Heather, in my group for the day, had their biggest challenge: help push a tricicleta (a mode of transportation where a man bikes a cart down the street for people to sit in) down a street in El Carmen to our next challenge. They pushed hard, and we made good time in order to do our next challenge, which was getting rid of weeds and stuff in a certain space in a local field. Most of us got pretty muddy, but after washing off a little, we headed to our next destination: Quito! There, we saw the Browns again, I got my other luggage back, and we slept at the CasaBlanca facility that Inca Link uses as a shelter for locals in need… which I’ll admit is a really nice facility.

May 31:
However, we didn’t stay at CasaBlanca for very long. The next morning, we took a backpack of essentials and started a five-hour drive to Huaticocha, a city in Ecuador that’s pretty much outside the jungle. There, we met Mark and Cheryl Schafer, missionaries in Huaticocha who welcomed us there and helped us get started on that day’s challenges. First, we had to find “yucca” and a sugar cane that were to be used to make part of that night’s dinner; next, we had to find lemons, also to be used for dinner; and after that came the biggest challenge of the day for me, canoeing back and forth on a local river, two people at a time. I hadn’t been canoeing for a very long time, so it was a little tricky, but we eventually got done, got to make dinner, and ate. Yucca actually tastes a little like a potato, in my opinion. However, what I didn’t get to taste was “chichi”, a drink made from boiled yucca that’s been chewed for two minutes by many people, then spat back into a pot, fermented (which we didn’t do), and drank. Apparently it didn’t taste very good. Props to the guys who drank that stuff.

June 1:
After staying overnight at a mission home in Huaticocha, we all woke up for what we were warned would be the hardest day of the Amazing Race. At first, it wasn’t so bad: in groups, we led elementary-to-middle-school-aged students at a local Christian school in an hour-long activity, which gave me my first opportunity in four years (since Trujillo) to lead a Bible lesson in Spanish. But our next challenge, though short and sweet, was the toughest physically: walk two hours down a trail and up a muddy mountain to another school with more kids. I feel like I could have done a lot more with those kids if I hadn’t been out of breath and sweating from walking so long. But it was still pretty fun, and afterwards our last challenge was to go to a bridge we passed on the way to the mountain and jump off into the river below. THAT was awesome—I needed to get into the water after that hike. After that, we drove back to CasaBlanca and got ready for the last couple days of the race.

June 2:
Day six of The Amazing Race took all the groups around different places in Quito. That meant that not only I got to see a lot of awesome new places, but I also had to use public transportation with my group that I hadn’t done before. I swear, I’d never been in a taxi before until today. And what was different today was that each group could work at its own pace, with no one waiting for them after a challenge was completed to give them a new clue. Our group went from CasaBlanca to a park to a soccer stadium to a morgue to a restaurant to even an amusement park, among other little places, all in eight hours or so. Once we finished, we all met at the Brown’s apartment in Quito for dinner and a debrief, which was pretty powerful.

And that's all for the first week or so. I'm going to try to keep posting stuff whenever I can, so feel free to keep up!