|How many semester students can you fit in a truck?|
Our last days at Palugo were spent by celebrating one another and the beautiful place we had gotten to know. There were a lot of academics to finish up, and there was work to do to close the Bodega project—planting gardens, creating rock sculptures, water management, and planning out the roof structure for the bridge. Almost every single night was spent staying up and celebrating by cooking yummy things in the oven (cookies, cake, bread, brownies, pie, etc.).
|Construction of the roof for the bodega bridge|
One night we all got dressed up to go dancing in Quito. We pooled our group money to rent a bus, which ended up being a giant public bus that we had to ourselves. It was very luxurious. That day happened to be Quito’s anniversary, so the streets were absolutely packed. We spent the entire night dancing to electronic reggae and traditional Andean music in outdoor plazas. At one concert, half the crowd was turned towards us rather than the band; filming, smiling, and pointing. We got some of them to join in. When it was time to go home, we reluctantly began to leave the park. But once we hit the street, the band started playing another groovy song and we couldn’t help but to break out dancing once again. We got many pedestrians to join in. It kind of felt like a flash-mob.
|Nora, helping Luke finish his portfolio|
|Nica, in the tunnel!|
The night we left Palugo to fly back to New Hampshire, we watched the sunset in a high field together during the graduation celebration. The children of Palugo were playing in the deep grass all around us.
Our last circle with Katy and Yuri was filled with dancing, singing, and eating cake to celebrate Jule’s 19th birthday. We said our goodbyes and they left with their families. They told us if we happened to be in Ecuador again, their doors would always be open.
Later on, as we prepared to head off to the airport, we had our last circle with Nicole, Matias, and Ayra. It felt extremely strange to be leaving the people we had grown to think of as family and the place that had become a new home. When it was time for Ayra to go to bed, she and Matias said their farewells and walked off into the night. Ayra was on top of his shoulders, waving behind to us. We all knew that image would be ingrained in our minds, for most likely the rest of our lives.
The cold clean air that filled our lungs when we stepped out of the airport was shocking. We took deep breaths, experiencing the considerable amount of oxygen in the air. As we drove back to Kroka, more and more snow gathered on the ground and the trees.
|They quickly put us right to work!|
We entered a winter wonderland as we got out of the van upon arriving at Kroka. Everything was sparkling and white, and the trees made black silhouettes against the dark blue winter sky. It was beautiful.
|A fun minga with the Kroka staff to wrap up our semester!|