Dear TTS Friends and Family,
Our home base for the past week has been an amazing historical site, Hacienda Guachala. The Hacienda has housed royalty, presidents, the French geodesic mission to find the equator, the first slow food festival in Ecuador, and now us. The owner of the Hacienda, Diego, is the mayor of the region, and gave us an in-depth lecture on its history from the 1400's to the present. We were overwhelmed by his vast knowledge and life experience as an engineering student at Stanford in the 60's to his current position as a leader of indigenous movements in Ecuador.
|TTS23 at Mitad del Mundo|
We spent one of the first afternoons walking to a nearby flower plantation learning about one of Ecuador's main exports. Across the street from the Hacienda are many rose plantations which we weren't allowed to visit due to their hectic schedule in preparation for Valentine's Day in the U.S. We visited a blue flower plantation instead, which are also exported to the U.S. Students asked our guide Luis thoughtful questions in Spanish about the irrigation system, the wage of the workers, and everything that goes into the life of a flower. Many began to think in new ways, tracing items they see in stores back home to their origins. We spoke of the refrigeration it takes to deliver flowers across the world, the trucks and boats and planes and fuel, the human labor, the working conditions, the pesticides, health effects, environmental damage, and much more.
After many exciting classes, students visited Mitad del Mundo, a sundial marking the equatorial line. The director of Quitsato, a scientific organization researching the equator, gave us an astronomy lesson, teaching us about the rotation of the earth and the history and etymology of orientation and directions. Most importantly, he challenged our perspective on how we view the world. Ask your daughters about this when they get home!
|Oyacachi Hot Springs|
|Patricia & TTS23 Group|
|Basilica Voto Nacional|
Tomorrow we head to Quito for a day trip in the city. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/2 We'll climb the bell tower of an ancient church to see the city in its entirety, have a talk from an expert on indigenous rights, eat lunch in the plaza, and visit the museum of Ecuador's most famous artist-Guayasamin. http://www.guayasamin.org/
The students are getting the idea that at TTS learning never ends. It's a beautiful process to be a part of.
From all of your daughters and the teacher team