Three weeks into our experience in Ecuador and our group spent time in an elementary school. The classrooms were divided by grades but there were no windows and the doors opened to a courtyard shared by everyone. The teachers were eager to have MSPP students evaluating some of their children. We were limited in the time we spent evaluating each child with each visit lasting about thirty minutes. With so much work to be done, I hope that our experience this year can be built upon by future Latino Mental Health participants. Similar to my experience at the Crecer Foundation, my time at the elementary school strengthened my belief that despite all our differences culturally and otherwise, as humans, we have more similarities than differences. The children were playful and fun to spend time with.
At the CEN where I attend a Spanish class each day. I am fortunate enough to have a teacher, Sandra, who also works as a School Psychologist. She has been helpful in the ways she has educated me about the Ecuadorian education system and the role of a psychologist in the school system. While at the elementary school, I learned to administer the ABC, an assessment tool for children ages 5-7. I was able to discuss the ABC with Sandra and gain a bit more information about its uses along with some basic norms.
Of course, I cannot end this blog without mentioning our weekend trip to Banos, Ecuador. This was one of those weekends that one never forgets. I went bungie jumping off a bridge then, as a group we all went canyoning down five waterfalls. To end the weekend with some relaxation, we enjoyed submerging into water from the hot springs. The water is reported to be curative due to the minerals and the temperature provided by a nearby volcano. —It was hot!
So with one week left in Ecuador, I find myself sad to be leaving so soon. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. The people at CEN, other students, staff at the foundations, and in a special way my host family will all be missed.