Around Every Corner

Leah Mesh-Ferguson - Ecuador


November 13, 2013

“My vision is to not hold myself to this vision if change is necessary and empowering, and to generally be able to roll with change better.”

During In-Country Orientation in Quito, each member of the cohort had to create their own personal vision statement. It would be a rough draft, meant to be revised and fine-tuned over the course of the year. The first part of my statement is above, and, ironically, it is not one that I will be changing. 

I’ve always liked to know the plan before anything happens and I don’t love plans changing at the last minute. Already in the last two years before coming to Ecuador, I had relaxed some with not knowing the plan with the help of my 8 best friends – who almost never had a plan. Still, I liked big events to be well organized and held in place. Just ask some of those best friends how I reacted when they messed with my organizational Google Doc for our camping trip. I realize how funny it was now, but it wasn’t pretty at the time. 

However, since my arrival in Ecuador, unexpected change has been around every corner. A week after learning about my placement in Riobamba, I found out the woman who was going to host me had been in a car accident and I could no longer live with her because she was in the hospital. At that point, I no longer had a family. It was a shock, but I was more worried about this woman, Nancy, who I’d never met, than my future living situation. And that was already a huge difference for me. 

I moved in with my new host family three days after everyone else and hoped it would all work out. Unfortunately, the family was not the right fit for me and after grappling with the possible change for about a week, I moved families. I am now living with Nancy, most recovered from her accident, her sister, and their parents. 

This change terrified me, but it was also necessary and empowering. I’m very happy with my new family and I’m already rolling with change so much better since I’ve gotten to Ecuador. I don’t always have a plan, and sometimes it’s even by choice. I go to work each morning never knowing what I’ll be doing until I get there. I don’t know what I’ll be eating for any particular meal until it is set in front of me. I rely on unreliable buses to get me from point A to point B, when before I could just hop into the gold Honda Odyssey “mom-mobile.” Occasionally it frays my nerves that I’m going to be late to work because my usual bus isn’t running or occasionally bothers me that I can’t cook my own food. In the end, I’m learning that change, especially unexpected change, is all part of life and simply by realizing that, I’ve learned so much about myself and how to keep rolling through this year and the rest of my life. 

Leah Mesh-Ferguson