Various Thoughts

Nathan Edwards - Ecuador

November 29, 2012

Hello family and friends!!

Greetings from Ecuador! I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving’s, whether it was passed with family or friends. This was my first Thanksgiving away from my family, and although I missed them dearly, I had a fantastic Thanksgiving. The fellows of my region and of another region (24 total) got together to celebrate the holiday. It was great to catch up, share stories, and pass the holiday with great company. Thanksgiving has always been a time for me to show gratitude, but this year it has undoubtedly taken on new meaning. Everyone takes the things we have in our daily lives for granted, and a great way to see the unnoticed pearls of our lives is to step away from it. My Dad (Scott) once told me, “Sometimes you need to get away from the things you love to see how much you love them…and love them with more passion when you return.” I’m seeing this in full fruition. I miss my family, friends, and daily activities dearly; but I believe I have more gratitude and love for them than I ever have had in my life.

Onto another note, one of our assignments for our training seminar during Thanksgiving was to analyze poverty and an ill-life. I had not thought much of these issues like many of my colleagues have and I thought it very stimulating to think of these issues. I cannot say that I am living with a family who I consider to be “Destitute or Poor” but I have been exposed to poverty and the ill-life in many forms. Primarily, I would like to clarify what I consider to be poverty versus an ill-life. I consider poverty to be the physical means of poor, for example a roof that does not protect against rain, lack of food, no electricity. The ill-life on the other hand is the feeling of impoverishment in the psychology of a person. When a person dreads waking up everyday, has no hope for the future, or has given up on him/her self, I consider these to be symtoms of the ill-life. I have seen people who are living in poverty who are very  content, and I have seen incredibly wealthy people who I consider to be living a “ill-life.”

Global poverty is an enormous subject that obviously does not have one clear solution. My limited observations have sparked these thoughts. The importance of education cannot be understated. This may sound cliche, but I believe many world problems can be tied to education or the lack thereof. An example: Guayabillas, Ecuador (pictured below) is a very rural and small community. There are a number of kids in this town who are enrolled in a high school, but the high school only has classes on Saturday, because this is the only day when the kids can travel the long road it takes to get to the school. The quality of education is obviously much lower and for this, the kids will have a slim chance to pass the exams to attend college. From there, they will have less job opportunities, tools to start a business, etc. This is a classic example of problems of education in the classroom, but education extends beyond the classroom. Education is teaching a 13 year old girl not to have sex with a 25 year old man. Education is teaching the 42 year old man it is wrong to beat his wife because he doesn’t have work. Education is understanding the basic human rights that are guaranteed to each and every one of us, so as not to be taken advantage of. How to implement a worthwhile education for everyone? That is the million dollar question. Any ideas?

I would lastly like to leave you with a special moment that happened on my birthday. I live in the cloud forest and the weather is as it sounds, cloudy practically the whole time. Back home, I loved looking at the stars and moon under Colorado’s clear, blue skies. I have had few opportunities to see the stars or moon here thus far. After washing my face off from the cake and laughing with my host family for a seemingly endless span of time, I left the house for my Monday night basketball game. I took my first step out of the house was struck by the amazing beauty of the night sky. The clouds had cleared and a full moon was shining brilliantly down on the land with the stars illuminating the rest of the sky. A feeling of ecstasy surged through my whole body, and I get goosebumps thinking of the moment now. I walked to my basketball game in silence for 10 minutes admiring the simple spectacle of an open night sky. And in this moment, I knew I was exactly where I should be.

Thank you all for reading and supporting me this year!! Lastly but most importantly, a shout out to Connor Mulshine:) and the rest of my friends back home. Keep the Raptors basketball team in your thoughts and prayers.     Chao.


Nathan Edwards