Heather Kurtz - Ecuador

October 3, 2011

Everyone climbs mountains of some form.  Well, today the 30 of September we climbed mountain Pasochoa.  This was a great climb and learned many things.  I realized some of the mountains I have climbed here and some that I am still climbing.  

Pasochoa was a beautiful mountain.  I loved climbing it and seeing all of the different plants and taking 100 pictures.  It was tough to climb to the top because the trail was bumpy and it was hard to breathe; the top of the mountain was more than 13000 feet.  Then when we were almost to the summit there was a slanted rock that we had to cross.  I did not like that part.  I was so unsteady and scared I was going to fall; I sat down and waited for some more of my group to come.  Then my friend had the same problem I did.  I stood up and I walked across to show myself that I could do it and I felt like I was helping my friend as well.  Once we were at the summit the view was well worth it.  We could see for miles.  I was so glad I had come on the trip.  Then on the way down we were all falling.  The trail was very steep and difficult but we had so much fun, I cannot describe it.  By the end we were covered in mud and laughing.  I would love to do it again.

On the way down we talked about our time in Ecuador.  We talked about how graduation from high school seems like it was ages ago.  It was only about 4 months ago.  I then thought, “Have I changed that much that it seemed so long ago?”  It was strange to think that I am a little different now.  I thought about the mountains I have climbed.  One was getting used to a new family.  They were different and I had to adjust to make things work.  Another mountain was living in the city.  Having never taken buses in a city this was crazy.  How do you know what one to take, or where to get off?  Well after a month I think I have it figured out.  I look for the name in the window and I get off at whatever looks familiar.  I have also learned to stay up later.  Now I go to bed at 9 or 10 instead of 8.  A final mountain I have come to is being friendly.  I am a shy person but here that is not really allowed.  You say good day to everyone on the streets and everyone when you get home.  I have also managed to ask a person for directions even when I did not know them.  I was so very proud when I realized I did it.

In spite of the mountains I have conquered I have many more to go.  At this point my Spanish is not good.  I can communicate effectively but everyone in my work introduces me by saying “Le present Heather.  Ella no habla Espanol.”  I need to find a way to show them I can speak Spanish.  The hard part is that most of the Spanish they use at my apprenticeship is technical because I am working with a vet.  Another challenge is the quechua in my village.  This is the indigenous language and I do not know any of it.  A third mountain I have yet to climb is creating a project in my village.  I have six months to make a sustainable project to help my village.  I think I will do a boys and girls club.  This is something they need because the children do nothing in the afternoon; school only goes until 1:00.  I feel this would help the children and the village.  We may do a project every month or tutor or just play some sports on the community field.  This is one of the biggest mountains I have yet to climb.  It will be hard like Pasochoa but I know that in the end everything will be well worth the effort.

Pasochoa is only the symbol of all the things that the Global Citizen Year Fellows are going to conquer in the year to come.  Every mountain will provide the most amazing view that ever there was.

Heather Kurtz