Here is a touching blog from Nicole about the Children's Art field trip to the Equator:
It all began with Wendy and a game of Monopoly. Wendy, one
of our most dedicated regulars, and I were playing Monopoly with a few other
kids in the library. We were using the Teen Center’s Ecuador-themed Monopoly,
which is composed completely of popular sites and cities in Ecuador. The two
most coveted by all potential property-owners are Mitad del Mundo – a monument
that was built on the Equator in Quito – and the Galapagos Islands; Park Place
and Boardwalk, respectively. Jonathan was lucky enough to land on the Galapagos
early on and, like any wise investor, went bankrupt in purchasing it, but
offered the rest of us discounted trips. I exclaimed that I was jealous and
that I wanted to go to the Galapagos. Within half of a second, Wendy responded
in the most innocent voice, with even more excitement than I could ever hope to
muster: “I want to go to Mitad del Mundo!” It was just one of those moments. It
was February and after 7 months of living in Ecuador, I had been to Mitad del
Mundo twice while Wendy, after 9 years growing up in Ecuador, had never made it
to the north part of the city and it was one of her biggest wishes.
I could not shake that moment – and still can’t, for that
matter. I began thinking of possibilities to get this little girl to the middle
of the world. A week or so later, Taylor and I met to plan out our art schedule
and projects for the year. We decided that we wanted to implement an art field
trip of some kind at the end of the quarter for those who had attended a
certain number of classes. And we immediately knew where we were headed. We
talked about fundraising options and were so lucky to have the support of
Taylor’s parents, Mr. & Mrs. Brown, who were visiting at the time. They
heard the story about Wendy and offered to pay for the paseo. The kids were thrilled about the news and I had
never seen Wendy’s shy little smile so full of joy…until we actually got to
Mitad del Mundo, then that first smile was blown out of the water.
So last Friday, during the one-week break between quarters,
we took 7 kids who had attended over 9 classes to the north side of Quito, a
much, much, much longer trip than expected. Still, the kids were such good
sports, freaking out to see the Panecillo,
pretending the police were after them, proudly bragging if we passed something
they had seen before, and simultaneously putting so many things in perspective
for me. The rain that persisted through the buseta ride came to an end right before we arrived and we
could barely contain the kids as the ran around screaming, requesting pictures,
and announcing to all that they were at Mitad del Mundo. It might have been the
best thing that I have ever witnessed. After lots of playground time, pictures,
a museum, and bathroom trips, we loaded up with chifles and water to start the long trek back to the Centro.
Standing in the parking lot as we piled in to the buseta, I felt a tug on my hand and Wendy stood on her
tip-toes to whisper in my ear “Thank you, really, thank you”. And I was
reminded of how simple things like art class are really so much more.
Taylor and I could not have been more pleased with the paseo…as well as to finally get home from it! This quarter
we are taking on music from around the world and our fingers are tightly
crossed to be able to take the kids on another trip.
Ready for the long buseta ride
One foot in each hemisphere
Learning about the Equator
"Estamos en la mitad del mundo!"