On March 2, a group of 24, including Montessori students, parents, plus Dave Ratcliffe and Kristen Crouse, embarked on a 10-day adventure of a lifetime to the beautiful country of Ecuador. During this service trip with the WE organization, we participated in both working in a village and experiencing the culture of the Rainforest and the city of Quito. This was the third trip of its kind; these service trips happen every two years and are open to students in Years 6-8.
Adam H. – Year 6
I liked the whole trip but what really stood out to me was working in the village community. It was cool to communicate with the villagers but not speak their language.
Driving on the bus from Quito to the Amazon was amazing because it was like we were in the clouds, so high up in Quito. I also liked seeing the hills in Quito where houses were built on these steep hills.
Ella R. – Year 7
My Ecuador experience was truly amazing and life changing. It was an adventure of a lifetime that I will never forget. One of the highlights from my adventure would have to be spending time with the community. On the build site we got to take breaks and connect with the community members; we didn’t speak the same language, but we were still able to understand each other and connect. We got to play soccer and games with the children. It was amazing to see that even though they all had so little they were still so cheerful and happy. Some kids had to walk hours to and from school in the rainforest, and to see them come to school everyday with a big smile on their face truly inspired me.
Griffin M. – Year 6
I liked a lot of things on this trip but my favorite things were playing soccer and games with the kids in the village. Also, learning how to make chocolate, and helping the people in the village, by building a part of a school.
Claire A. – Year 7
A thing that really stood out to me on this trip was that the people in the community live their lives happily. Here in Canada we definitely have a more privileged life but not always a better one. In the community that we worked in, the children were so happy just to be living. They had no running water, no air conditioning etc. but they stayed happy no matter what. Some of the kids had to walk an hour to school everyday in rain or shine but every single one of them had a smile on their face. It was really cool to observe the way they live and where they went to school. My highlight of the trip was definitely the day when we got to play soccer and duck, duck, goose with the children. Just getting to hold their hands and listening to them laugh was amazing. I really hope to go back one day. 🙂
Damen M. – Year 8
During this trip I learned a bunch of things about the Ecuadorian culture. It was really interesting to see their ways of life and become a part of it for a period of time. All the traveling was crazy because we were in busses, boats and planes for long periods of time. The work was very inspiring to know that you are doing all this work for a good cause and see the progress throughout the week. The food and hospitality was really good. All the people were amazing to us and were great to work with. Everything was so much different than our lifestyle and overall it was just an amazing experience to see what it’s like in another continent.
Laurel B. – Year 8
The highlight of my trip was the day we were on the build site and we got to take a break to play soccer and duck, duck goose with the children of the community we were working in. We played games and soccer, and introduced ourselves. Even though we didn’t speak the same language we still connected. I felt like this was my favourite part because I felt I made a difference.
Safiyah L. – Year 6
Ecuador was truly a great experience. I recommend it to anyone who loves adventure and happiness. My favorite part of the trip, although it was tough to decide, was working in the community alongside the children. This was my highlight because it was amazing to be part of their community for a week. I also enjoyed playing games with the children and weapon training. I loved going to the cacao farm and learning about chocolate. This was an amazing trip and a great opportunity for us all.
Mark D. – Year 8
On my trip to Ecuador I learned and did many things. If I were to choose one thing however, that I took away most from on this trip, I would have to choose building a school for the small, needy community we were assigned to. It was humbling to see based on how much we as a culture truly have and how much we take for granted.
Kate R. – Year 7
I enjoyed the trip to Ecuador a lot. It was fun to be there with my friends but it was also fun to meet many of the children from the community that we worked in.
The food was great at the Minga Lodge and so were the creatures that we saw in the rainforest. It was crazy to see Yolanda, the green parrot, try to steal our food. The huge snails, snakes, monkeys and tree frogs that we saw were incredible but I liked them best from a distance. Standing on the equator was amazing because you could have one foot in the northern hemisphere and one foot in the southern hemisphere of the world. I never thought that I’d get a chance to do that. I learned many things from this trip – especially how important clean water is to so many communities that do not have it. I also learned about the importance of growing good food that helps the community to enjoy a healthier diet.Working on the build site also taught me how important it is to work together to get a job done. I think we were able to do a lot because we all carried rocks, cut rebar and bent it, as well as dig holes together as a group with some of the community members. It was not always easy but we had more fun doing it together.
Kate J. – Year 6
My favourite memory from Ecuador was spending time with the kids of the community of Hatun Urku It was amazing to see the kids who had so little be so happy. It was lots of fun playing duck, duck goose, soccer and spending time with the kids. Now I won’t take anything for granted after seeing the community’s living conditions.
Spencer M. – Year 8
This trip to Ecuador was an amazing experience; really fun and hard work. The highlight of the trip was helping out the community for a few hours each day; working as a team with classmates and parents and seeing the progress of our work as the trip went on. I recommend this trip to anyone who wants to help out a community in Ecuador and see amazing things.
Davide A. – Year 7
The highlight of my trip was when I got to do the blow dart gun training because it was a cool experience. I also got to learn about the culture in the area we visited. The whole trip was great and there are too many amazing sights and experiences to count. Iit was a life changing trip.
Clara M. – Year 7
The highlight of my Ecuador trip was being able to play duck, duck goose and cat and mouse with the children at the worksite. I liked playing with them because everyone was having a good time and I liked seeing all the smiling faces of the children. I will never forget this experience.
Sonia P. – Year 7
My all time favorite thing about the Ecuador trip was the experience. It was amazing and hard to explain but it opened up my eyes to what I take advantage of and what I can do to make a difference. Another one of my favourite things in Ecuador was being able to help the community and meet the children. The reason as to why helping the community and meeting the children is one of my favorites is because as soon as you look at them or play with them their faces would light up and then you know that you did something right. Finally it was being able to make a difference.
Sam Rogers- Parent on the trip
As an alumni parent, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to join other parents, school staff and students on our adventure to Ecuador. Our trip with Montessori, in partnership with WE, was an experience Kate and I will never forget. From the big city of Quito and its incredible history and unique beauty, to the lush and dense Amazon rainforest with its diverse flora and fauna, we were simply amazed. The various cultural opportunities were wonderful experiences but the best part, and most meaningful for me, was the chance to interact with members of the community that we were involved with.
It left me with a special feeling that our hands helped to literally lay the foundations for an incredible community project that will help create an important change for this community for many years.
Susan Johnson – Parent of student who went on the trip
I will say that we were very apprehensive about sending our son so far away on his own but it turned out to be the best learning experience to date. Our son has matured and become far more independent from this adventure. I would highly recommend this journey to everyone.
Mike Ankers – Parent on Ecuador trip
Visiting Ecuador was an incredible experience and one that will stay with me. I would say that adults took as much away from the trip as our children and having that time away with them was very special. Seeing a different part of the world, learning about a different culture and realizing that everyone can make a difference is something everyone should be fortunate enough to experience. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing organization and hospitality of all WE staff. They’re a very talented, committed and inspiring group of people who served as great role models for our kids and really helped to make sure this trip was memorable and a success.