Gracias

Heather Kurtz - Ecuador


December 10, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving.
I am so thankful to be here in Ecuador. I am thankful for the life lessons I am learning. One of which is to be
grateful for all that you have.

I spent the weekend in Quito celebrating Thanksgiving with all the Ecuador fellows.  It was great.  In this time I learned that I have many things in the US.  One of the most important things during my time here has been the shower and not just any
shower but a hot shower.   In Atacapi I love to go to the river and take a bath; it is fun. Nothing gets you as clean as a hot shower.

Another thing I am thankful to have learned is that poor is more than just a word.  There are people in the US who are poor but it is more prevalent here.  Poor is not knowing what is going to happen, having  constant fear, of not being able to eat or work or just plain uncertainty.  In the US there are opportunities for the poor to escape the cycle of poverty.  There are programs to educate the homeless youth and to help the families.  In Ecuador there are few opportunities to escape the cycle and people stay in poverty because they do not have money to buy the food, so they have no energy to work, so they cannot earn money.  This just keeps going.

Yes, there is the internet and being able to talk to people around the world.  Yes, the internet exists here, but it is not reliable.  This is a problem when you are applying to colleges and wait until the last minute to get things done.  Being here in Quito where I can get Internet at any time in my room is such a luxury.  I can talk with all of my friends who are all around the world.  I have such a world perspective that most people living in Atacapi do not get the chance to have.  I have been to eight countries in the world and to multiple states in the US. Many people here have not traveled more than three hours from their
homes.

I do not have a lot of money, but I am a rich person.  I am rich because I have the opportunity to do anything I want.  I can travel the world.  I can speak English.  I have a hot shower.  I have a great family both in Ecuador and in the US.  I never knew all the things I took for granted in the US.  I now realize just how lucky I am, and I am so thankful.

Heather Kurtz