A week that began with a time of bonding at Casa Goshen quickly transitioned into an exhausting but thrilling sequence of events that included a two-hour latin dance marathon, a two and 1/2 hour cloud forest hike that ended in a tropical rainstorm, and a day of tree-planting and bird watching. Sandwiched between these events were numerous bus rides, botanical and Japanese gardens, and an artisanal chocolate factory tour. The quantity of newness on SST can often contribute to sensory overload while simultaneously providing much food for thought.
One of the themes this week included a reflection on what makes each of us feel at home. There are moments on SST where home feels far away and students and leaders reflect on the elements of home that we each appreciate. Some commented on physical environmental features such as types or quantity of trees, some reflected on familiar elements of a town or a neighborhood, and all reflected on the relationships that contribute to their sense of home. While SST participants realize that their time away is temporary, they develop a deeper understanding of what home means to them and the elements of home that they want to hold more tightly to or even develop more fully when they return.
We end this week with a deep sense of appreciation for the relationships that are most important to us, both at home and here in Ecuador as well as a sense of awe of the beauty of this place….