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​Brett Sargent

Dear All,
I have just arrived back to Ecuador after yet another amazing ten days, this time in Cuba. What a place, the color, music, dancing, old cars, architecture, cigars, stunningly beautiful women, warm clear blue waters, soul warming sun and more mojitos than I thought it possible to drink all create a spectacular country to visit. The trip was a smashing success and sharing it with one of my closest friends was for me, truly special. I have and lead a uniquely charmed life, with good fortune as my watchful protector and for this I am humbly grateful.
Arriving back to Quito I´ve finally had some time for reflection and self reflection about our special experience in the Ecuadorian Andes and I feel it would be remiss of me not to share with the group, that which I shared with the group.
I have lived, worked and travelled all over the world, and I have been touched by many things. Poverty is a powerful and emotional issue, which can make for easy tear shedding in the face of first world guilt. Often it takes to witness first hand the hard ship of others for the reality to set in, to truly understand the plight of the other, as much as one can having been raised in abundance.
Living where I do in Peru I have to some extent become less sensitive to phenomenal poverty. Although I am not poor myself, I am constantly surrounded by it and therefore not shocked by it, or at least less sickened by it these days. What does all this mean? Good question. It means that for me, in going to Malingua i was able to see, without an emotionally clouded head, what Malinguan life means to Malinguans. I was able to glimpse, and I say glimpse as it would be ignorant and arrogant of me to say otherwise, the culture, the heritage, the lifestyle, community spirit, sense of belonging, ownership, shared responsibility, and the willingness and want to challenge the ways of the past to bring about a brighter future. And I was able to do all this without a sense of pity or sadness for what they have or lack therein, with the obvious poverty not the focus. This brought a richness to my experience and an unexpected sweetness.
But this is just one side of the story. Its equal and matching half can now only be referred to as the dream team. In the early days I was most curious to see how everything was going to pan out, the people, personalities, intentions, work share, space sharing, individual need in group dynamics, attentional to detail with the bigger picture in mind etc. It was for me nothing short of amazing to watch the immense and concentrated intellectual pool merge waters with a unified want to do what ever was possible, and then more. The energy invested was overwhelming, the dedication and commitment absolute and unwavering, the dream team a force to be reckoned with. I am humbled by each and every one of you.
So I extend out to all of you my thanks on behalf of the universe. People like you change the world, and I feel privileged to have been a part of it all. This experience has made me feel, think, hurt and once again reconsider from where and how I view humanity.
Pam I take my hat off to you, you are an inspiration.
Live well, the choice is yours.
See you next year

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