RSIS Big Build Ecuador: hard work and muddy fun
Posted: 18 July 2018
Machalilla National Park
Students enjoyed a day away from the project worksite and had the opportunity to visit Machalilla National Park, a preserve in the Ecuadorian Manabí Province near Puerto López.
As the only coastal national park in Ecuador, the Machalilla National Park sports protected beaches and tracts of dry forest, cloud forests and a cluster of islands. This makes it one of the best stops along the Ecuadorian coast to explore.
Students visited the small museum filled with archaeological artefacts that have been discovered on the site, and went for a hike to take in the beautiful views.
This cultural trip was not only a great adventure but a good opportunity to get really messy! The trip finished with a visit to the lagoon. Mud is routinely collected from the bottom of this pool so guests can apply their own facial mud masks.
Student blog update
By: Abby, Aubrey, Jana, Justin, and Mélanie
After four long days of hard work, it was time for an exciting excursion away from the worksite.
Our groups travelled to the local village of Agua Blanca that sits in the middle of the Machalilla National Park. We traversed through the mountains on a hike that lead us to Los Frailes beach and many other coastal destinations that were perfect for taking pictures with our new friends. The tour guides showed us wonderful views, and gave us the chance to try a local mud mask at a sulphur lagoon. We also visited the highest point of the mountain range to look around at the surrounding beauty.
Although there was a language barrier for some with our Agua Blanca Native tour guide, we had a translator that made learning the culture and history a breeze. It was quite a surprise for our group that we walked 3 km on our “rest day,” but it was all worth the effort in the end when we got to take in the gorgeous Ecuadorian landscape.
And to close off the day, we had the opportunity to buy ice cream to balance out the effort of the long trek, and we were able to buy souvenirs for parents, siblings, and friends alike, be prepared for your special gifts from South America!
Teamwork and leadership skills
30 sacks of cement,
30 wheelbarrows of sand,
42 wheelbarrows of gravel, and
A group of motivated students working towards a common goal!
Students have been uniting as a team on the project work site and divvying up tasks such as mixing cement and varnishing the completed bamboo fencing. Students have been taking it in turns to lead the whole team, developing valuable leadership and communication skills.
Slowly but surely, their work is paying off and the concrete slab foundation and its pillars are taking shape.
The team also spent some time sorting through the materials they brought with them to donate to the community and have started to package them into kits for teachers.
Student blog update
By: Lucas, Michelle, Harriet, Jenny and Armaan
Feeling slightly rested, we began our day with excitement for the second week of work. Through all the difficulties we faced, we managed to persevere and complete the tasks that were set for us. On the children’s centre, we finished most of the train, varnished the whole fence, cemented the kitchen counter, planted a beautiful landscape and made sure the new centre would last for many years to come.
On the second worksite, the multi-use centre, we had made lots of progress towards the structure of the building. Due to our strict time limit, we managed to finish all of the pillars of the building and even the ground of the foundation. Our teamwork and co-ordination was tested due to the huge volume of cement to mix that was difficult to complete given the short time period. Through the incredible leadership and devotion of today’s writers, we finished the cement with flying colours (please be proud of us). We are excited to see the building progress in our last few days of work as we continue our tireless efforts.
The highlight of our day after hours of hard labour was a visit by the children of the community, Puerto Rico, who were eager to play games with us. We had an amazing time playing many different games including soccer, frisbee, “hula hula” (with hula hoops) and catch. The smiles of the children’s faces will work as our motivation for the rest of the week.
See you soon and hasta mañana amigos!