Four Days in Paradise!

Four Days in Paradise!

These past two weeks we have had here in Ecuador have been amazing, but with an amazing trip you need an amazing ending. That’s exactly what we had! After all our hard work with the daycare, the school and Damien’s House, as well as building a house for an extremely well deserving family, we spent the last 4 day at a fabulous hostel on the beach. The beach was in a little city called Olón, about 3 hours north of where we were staying in Guayaquil. It was amazing the difference between driving 3 hours will do to the atmosphere and the lifestyle of a city. In Guayaquil, it’s a much faster pace. Car alarms go off about every five seconds, people bump into you, cars try and kill you and garbage trucks have the misleading sound of an ice cream truck. In Olón, it’s a beach town so it’s very relaxed. You hear the waves crashing, the dogs barking, the sand always somewhere on your body, but most importantly the bell of an ice cream truck actually selling ice cream. The great thing about being at a beach, is there is ALWAYS ice cream and you can get it at any time of the day!

We arrived at the hostel on Thursday night and was welcomed with such warmth from our host Lolo. He was such a gracious host and made sure each and every one of us was taken care of. He really made us feel at home. It was so beautiful waking up on the beach with the sound of waves crashing in the background while I lay on the hammock that I never wanted to leave. We would have family breakfast, lunch and dinners together with absolutely amazing food and lots of laughter.

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Throughout our stay at the beach there were many exciting activities that we had, and some that weren’t so great. We took long walks on the beach, climbing on rocks, in which some casualties were had (mostly by Tisha), surf lessons, family dinners, salsa lessons, trips to get ice cream, lots of napping in our wonderful hammocks, getting horrible sunburns, playing with beach dogs, mosquito bites, going shopping in montenito. water balloon fights, dancing in montenito, swimming in the ocean, getting more sunburns, getting even more ice cream and helping to build a playground for the orphanage. With all that being said, the best part of our trip in Olón was definitely going to the orphanage and playing with the children on the beach. It was truly such an amazing experience. The kids there were so happy and filled with excitement that you couldn’t help but feel the same way. Even though every single one of those children has already had to go through so much hardship and struggle, they all seem to not let that get them down. They can’t dwell on the past if they want to move forward with their lives and I think they are all going to do great things in the end. They made you feel part of their family. Even though you had no clue what they were saying, we were always able to connect and understand each other. All day we played on the beach and it was just so much fun doing different activities, that we didn’t want it to end. We all came back to the hostel, had ice cream ( of course) and said our final goodbyes. As sad as it was to say goodbye, I know I will remember each and every one of them and always keep those memoires close to my heart.

After 14 days with 14 amazing friends, 2 awesome interpreters, 2 insane instructors and 1 fantastic bus driver, I can’t believe that our trip has finally come to an end. Being here in Ecuador has truly been a life hanging experience and I’m so glad that I got to be a part of it and experience this adventure with my new family. I cannot thank everyone enough for making this trip possible and making it one to remember!

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Sheridan Kleininger