This winter break, from January 3rd to the 16th, I traveled to Ecuador with 22 other individuals to embark on a service trip through a K-State organization called ECM! When we first arrived in Ecuador, we stayed in a hostel in a city called Guayaquil. We traveled around the city doing some of the more “touristy” events like going to the wildlife park, going to an iguana park and visiting a beautiful Catholic church. After a few days of rest and sight seeing in Guayaquil, we all loaded up in a van to go to Puerto de Engabao, which is where we would stay for the remainder of our trip. Since our group was so large, we were dispersed between several different houses. I stayed in a house called Casa de Surf. It was essentially like living outside because there is no air conditioning, we slept with mosquito nets over our beds, there were no windows, and the walls of the house were very thin and made of wood. We couldn’t flush toilet paper, and we brushed our teeth using bottled water. Our “living room” consisted of an area where all the bedrooms led out into a common space, and was similar to that of a porch. When you looked outside, we had a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean, the beach, and the fishermen’s port! The beach was only a few feet away from our house, so we went down to the ocean to swim almost every night after a day of work, and watched the sun set while swimming. You’re probably thinking, “did you do any work while you were down there?!” We indeed did many different projects to assist the communities during our stay. One of our main projects was digging trenches in a town about 15 minutes from Puerto de Engabao called Engabao. The trenches were for water piping so that water could be transported to the school in Engabao. It was very hot and required alot of hard labor and teamwork, but the outcome was something we were all very proud of! The men of the community assisted in digging the trenches with us, and the women brought us fruit juices and popcorn as snacks! The community members were very welcoming and grateful for us being there and willing to help them. Pigs, roosters, dogs, and chickens ran wild around the town, so they provided some entertainment for us while at work!