An update from Jillian in Ecuador, a first-year student minoring in human rights and special education:

It was warm today! And surprisingly, no rain!!! First day at the market with the kids, what an experience!

While the market itself was exactly what I expected, the situation of the children and the families working in the markets was completely different than what I had envisioned before arriving. I was chosen to go with Danny to round up the first round of kids for our first session, and that was definitely eye-opening. Actually going through the narrow paths of the market, dodging many venders offering me their products, and desperately trying to stay close behind Danny was quite the shocking task.

After gathering kids from their families’ stations, we made our way to the tent and mats that we had previously set up. We did multiple enjoyable activities with the kids such as reading books (in Spanish and English), singing songs, and coloring paper that helped them learn their numbers in English. The first session in the day was for sure more manageable than the second because of the behavior of the kids.

Overall, it was an exhausting, yet wonderful day! The kids were so much more accepting and appreciative than I was expecting. The hugs from them at the end of the sessions made the entire exhausting task totally worth it.