Photo caption: Jefferson 8th grader Julianna Williams (back center) working on a project to build a school in Ecuador.


Photo caption: Former Jefferson student Reece Pauling.


Photo caption: Former Jefferson student Jaronte Jones.


When I found out that I had a chance to go out of the country to Ecuador, I was so excited! I begged my mother every day until she said yes. I really wanted to go on this trip because I felt it would be a great experience for me. I would get to see a different part of the world and meet new people.

It took us about seven hours and two planes to get to Ecuador. There is a one-hour time difference, so we didn’t feel tired. There was no cell phone service.

When we arrived at the hotel, we were partnered with students from different schools. We settled down and prepared ourselves for the next day.

Each day we were up by 6 a.m. This was to have time to shower and get ready to start our day. We also took this time as an opportunity to get to know our roommates.

Breakfast was at 7:30 a.m. I didn’t know what to expect of the food. It was just like American food but the taste was different. After breakfast, we went on tours to try new foods and see more of Ecuador.

We went into the woods to explore. We saw different animals like dogs, cats, insects, and monkeys. I had one monkey climb on my head. I tried to take a selfie with him, but he knocked the phone out of my hand. Everyone laughed.

We saw the way food was made in Ecuador. We went to another hotel in the woods. While there, we heard the sounds of crickets and other bugs.


Photo caption: Eighth grader Xueting Pan.

The group played games to get to know each other. We also played team-building games.

We helped build a school for the kids that didn’t have one. The kids there were very fun and friendly toward us. I shared some of my candy with them, but they tried to take all of it. We played a game of soccer with the kids. We got really dirty because of the mud from the rain the day before. We went to this place like a museum, but it was outside. We had the opportunity to stand on both sides of the world at one time! That was truly amazing to me.

We went to different stores and saw ancient artifacts from Ecuador. We saw a lady making her own clothes. She also had a small animal running around. All the animals we saw there were very friendly and playful. We saw a waterfall that had both water and mud falling at the same time. When it hit the river it made muddy water. It looked like chocolate. I ate mostly rice and chicken. Each time the flavor was different. Some of the food I tried, I didn’t like the taste of, but I ate it to show respect.

On our last day there, we went to a big supermarket and bought souvenirs for our families. Some of the things were highly priced, but we learned to negotiate for a lower price.

On the plane ride home we talked about all the fun we had and looked at pictures everyone took.

I had lots of fun and would not mind going again.


By: Julianna M. Williams

8th grade, Jefferson Academy

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