Sandy beaches, lots of sun, and a week free of responsibilities—seems like a perfect spring break. This year, however, ten members of Sigma Kappa chose to try something new for their week off of school. The group traveled to Sangloqui, Ecuador with the Manna Project International to spend a week serving the Sangolqui community and learning more about Ecuadorian culture.
The Manna Project International is a non profit organization that builds community centers in underprivileged areas, offers a safe place for families to send their children, and teaches free English classes to the community. “We learned about the trip from our former president, Taylor Haynes,” explained sophomore Katie Presswood. “Last year Taylor and two other older SK’s went and said it was amazing, so we thought it would be cool to experience a new culture and make some new friends.”
On the trip the girls helped to renovate the Manna community center by repainting all the murals in the center and creating an organization system for the library allowing the children to easily access and check out books., the girls also enjoyed the opportunity to meet students of all ages at a local school and assist with teaching English classes. “I loved getting to spend time with the kids at their school," shared sophomore Kat Baker, “They were eager to learn from us and seemed really excited to have us there.”
In addition to helping with the Manna Project, the girls experienced many new parts of Ecuadorian culture. They went sight seeing in Quito, the capitol of Ecuador, shopped at the local market, tried many traditional Ecuadorian foods, and visited the equator, among many other adventures. “One of my favorite parts of the trip was going to dinner at the home of a local community member. They prepared an Ecuadorian feast for us; it was really special to experience that kind of hospitality and see what life is like for people in Sangolqui,” said sophomore Sarah Schamay.
Sangloqui, Ecuador, while not a typical spring break destination for a group of college students, has certainly found a place in the hearts of the girls who called it home for a week. Through their adventures, the girls were able to build relationships with the community as well as to grow closer as friends, making their week in Ecuador one they will never forget.