As we prepare to welcome our next group of SST students we reflect on these words from Henri Nouwen:

“Latin America:  impressive wealth and degrading poverty, splendid flowers and dusty broken roads, loving people and cruel torturers, smiling children and soldiers who kill.  It is here that we have to hunt for God’s treasure.”

And hunt we will…

But before we were ready to receive the 22 students who will step off the plane Wednesday night, we needed to travel north to Ecuador to renew our visas, rest our bodies and refresh our spirits.  We celebrated three birthdays — Sierra’s on April 9, Jane’s on April 17 and Jerrell’s — his 50th — on April 21.

Taking our lead from a recent National Geographic article about “one of the wildest places on earth,” Yasuni National Park, we traveled deep into the Ecuadorian rain forest to visit Limoncocha Biological Reserve and Yasuni National Park.  Sierra enjoyed trying out the new features on the camera she received for her birthday  — she gets the photo credits for most of what you’ll find below.