Criss-Crossing the Andes

Hello again Summer 2023 Ecuador SST blog readers.  It’s been a couple of weeks since we checked in with you and my has it been busy.  There is a myth that circulates about SST leadership regarding a time of relaxation leaders enjoy while students are on service.  Contrary to that belief, an SST leader’s job is continuous throughout the entire time students are under their care in a foreign country.  In between a myriad of administrative tasks, leaders are on call 24/7 to respond to the needs of students, whether that be physical, mental, or relational.

Two weeks ago we began our tour of the 5 provinces and 12 communities where our 19 students are spread throughout the central Ecuadorian Andes at their service locations.  Today (Wednesday, July 12th) we completed that exhilarating and exhausting meet and greet of all the service families and service workplaces along with some time dedicated to each student group.  As we crisscrossed the Andes from high mountain valleys to tropical forests it was incredible to experience the breadth of climates, familial cultures, and geographic landscapes students are situated in.  Service visits are a special time to reunite briefly with our SST family (the students), listen to their updates, and wish them well in their remaining weeks.  It is also special to see the appreciation of their families and coworkers as they walk through this experience together.  As we head into the home stretch of the SST experience, students and leaders try to balance the conflicting feelings of joy and sadness as our time in Ecuador draws to a close.