During my year, I worked with an organization called La Casa De La Juventud (Youth House). This organization is made up mainly of local youth ranging from all ages, who get together and set up events to do after school or during weekends. La Casa De La Juventud provides a network for the youth in the city of Ibarra. Although, alcohol and drugs are very present in the city of Ibarra, La Casa de la Juventud organizes events that are alcohol/drugs free to get together and have safe, clean fun.
In February, we put together a day walk that ended at Sierra Aventura, which is a hostel with pools, karaoke, horseback riding, and more. We started the walk in a nearby indigenous community called San Clemente at around 8:45am. To start the day with an activity, the rules for the day were introduced to the group. Then, shortly after we were on our way, maybe about 10 minutes into the hike, we realized we were lost.
One minor setback, but we were still on our way to find adventure and rejuvenation. On our walk up, we slowly learned that this was going to be more of a hike rather than a short twenty minute walk. We got dirty and some of us even fell, but we helped each other out and made it to our destination. After what seemed like hours, we all made it to Sierra Aventura covered in sweat and dirt. Accomplishment was flowing in the fresh air of the vast mountains surrounding Ibarra.
We took some time to re-energize and to get to know each other better through games and activities. Gina led the first ice breaker “Moler Café”, but no coffee was actually involved in this activity. Then, we put together a small drama with some of the manliest men of the group. We played soccer and then transitioned to American football. It was boys against girls and although these games were meant to be friendly, many of us really got into it and went all-out in order to win.
Once the games came to an end, we headed to the pools and well deservedly hopped into the pool that awaited us all morning. We played more games in the pool to involved everyone. We ate and many of us shared snacks and then headed to the room that had billiards and karaoke. We discovered that many of the youth are gifted with a great voice, while some have not been as fortunate as others. We didn’t discriminate, everyone who wanted to sing, sang and everyone who wanted to watch, watched. We stayed there until our time came to head down the mountain back to San Clemente, in order to catch our bus back to Ibarra. We were all tired and some hungry again, but we all agreed that the day was really fun and we wished it had lasted a little bit longer.
To watch the video of this walk, please click this link.