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​Michael Arias “Miguelito”

My adventure to Malinga Pamba was incredible! I was one in a group of volunteers headed to Quito, Ecuador to work with the people of Malingua Pamba. The work was fun and rewarding. We traveled through Quito, Isinlivi , in route to Malingua Pamba. We climbed Cotopaxi and it was officially the highest point I have ever been. I could not continue at just over 17,000 ft. 

Daniel Verschatse and I helped with some electrical issues at the original Malingua Education Building and at surrounding schools. The people in Malingua always want to work with you. We all worked together to clean up. Daniel and I taught classes, fixed wiring issues, worked in the garden and helped to fix drainage issues and water pipe breaks.

I loved the food that Elvia prepared. Everything that we ate was a part of the community. One night we caught a rabbit and had stew the next day. I went on many hikes with some of the local young guys. The young men were so informative and there were so many plants and herbs that grew everywhere. All of the plants, herbs, livestock, gardens, and wild animals were in most of the meals and snacks we ate.

One night after another fulfilling meal, Daniel brought all of the people staying at the hostel, including all of Paulino’s family outside for stargazing and an astronomy lesson. We waited for a couple of nights because of rain and that night clouds covered the sky for most of the evening. In an instant the clouds cleared and gave way to the most amazing southern sky. I will remember this night forever, the look on Bolivar, Roberto, Elvia, and Paulino’s face was amazing. The way Daniel was explaining everything was so interesting. The constellations were so defined. When you look out into the universe and talk about far away galaxies where other stars, planets, and possible earths have groups stargazing and discussing astronomy you realize what a gift your life is.  It was a very special night.

After a week in Malingua Chris Q. and I traveled to Baños. We went Mountain Biking and got to see a bunch of waterfalls at the edge of the Amazon Basin. Chris went on to the Galapagos and I wish I could have continued with him.

This experience was so rewarding and fun. I look forward to another adventure with Pamelita in the near future. Thank you for this opportunity!

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