It feels like a dream that just a few weeks ago we were standing over the equator staring at the completed structure of a greenhouse we had built with our own hands. For some of our group’s members this was the first time we had ever constructed something from start to finish. From the initial step of clearing and flattening the land to adding the plastic to the outside of our greenhouse structure, every step of the process came with its own challenges. It was on our most trying days that I came to understand and admire my teammates in a way that would have been impossible otherwise. Each person brought their own light, positivity, and sense of humor that made every single day fun and inspiring. The positive energy of our group was reflected onto our project and the local community as we were told several times how fun and unique our group of volunteers was.
The first greenhouse we built was at a local primary school. Despite our poor Spanish language skills, the children would crowd around us every day excited to ask questions. My attempts to respond were comical to say the least, and would often send the kids into fits of laughter. We had a blast with the children, but at the end of the day we didn’t know which ones could be going to bed hungry. It was incredible to interact with the people who would directly benefit from our efforts. The greenhouse we built will be used to provide our new friends with at least one balanced and nutritious organic meal a day.
The second greenhouse was placed at a local farmers market. Here we were given the opportunity to work side by side with the community. This project site was unique in comparison to the first because the people would be using the greenhouse to generate an income for their families. It’s interesting to me that the same project could mean something completely different to different groups of people. At the school, a greenhouse is a means of sustaining life itself through nutrition. At the farmers market, a greenhouse is a means of improving the quality of life. Extra income could mean access to things like medicine and education.
While we hope that our efforts made a lasting impact on the communities in Ecuador, we know that this project and the friends we made have had an impact on us. I am so thankful for this opportunity to learn and grow, and I will never forget the experiences I had in Ecuador. Thank you Triple Salto for being such a gracious host. Thank you to the community members who brought us food every day, even when they had their own families to feed at home. Last but not least, thank you to my OSU project teammates for always lifting my spirits.
Nourish Love <3
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