On May 3rd, 2018 the mission team from Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School (PFO) embarked on their journey to Ecuador. After over a year of planning, two long flights, three bumpy bus rides, a pit stop in Quito, and a boat ride, they finally arrived in the Amazon rainforest at Minga Lodge.
The team had many life-changing experiences on their trip. The journey began with a visit to Los Rios – the community where they would be working. The area had just installed a large water filtration system to provide clean water to the local community. The area school had children ranging from Grades 1-12. The team from Patrick Fogarty organized an Olympic day with lots of games for all the kids to play. PFO students were impressed by the children’s amazing soccer skills, and constant smiles as everyone got to play games together.
The PFO team met a man named Don Vargas who invited them into his home to hear the heart-wrenching story of his fight for clean water and shared the deliciously juicy fruits he farmed. They visited a healer man, and he cleansed the group of negative energies. They tested their skills by throwing javelins and blow darts. A local women’s group which is part of the Opportunity pillar through the We Foundation showed the team how to make bracelets.
The students biggest accomplishment and reason for travelling so far was to help build the foundation for a cafeteria at the Los Rios school so that the children can have a clean place to eat their food at school. By making wire posts, carrying rocks from the river, wheelbarrowing dirt, and mixing cement, the team put down 5 foundation posts for the cafeteria. Despite the humidity, rain and sweat, it was a wonderful experience working with the community and help them with their school. The PFO team physically saw their impact in Ecuador, and it was a very hard goodbye.
Edan M., who is part of the mission team said, “ It was a life-changing experience that will stay with me and influence everything I do”.
Mr Bosco, one of the teachers on the trip, said that “seeing the students come together as a team, and become comfortable with their surroundings was amazing. We all changed as individuals, and I am very appreciative to have gone on this trip with such a wonderful group of leaders.”