Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teen Center Paseo

Last Saturday the Teen Center took its first paseo of the New Year to a natural rock-climbing wall near Sangolquí. The trip was lead by an Ecuadorian friend of ours, Joshua, who is a certified mountain guide. He supplied us with all of the necessary equipment, and talked to the teens about safety and proper climbing technique. The wall we used was a natural rock face with built in hooks for ropes that climbers have installed over the years. It was a beautiful place, hidden away behind farmhouses and right alongside a river. We got lucky with the weather and the typical afternoon rain-showers held off (for the most part) until all of the teens and adults had their chance to try out the wall.

We advertised for the trip during the Fiestas de Rumiloma last weekend, and received a lot of interest. Several kids wanted to come but couldn’t because of scheduling issues, and we look forward to seeing them at future Teen Center events. Six teens participated in the paseo, three Teen Center regulars and three of our new English students, as well as Walter, a friend and student of ours who has been helping us out with Teen Center events. Walter is an active participant in several Manna programs, and is always a pleasure to have around. It is especially nice to have him helping with the Teen Center, since he can joke around and relate to the kids in a way that is much harder for Charlie, Watkins and I.

The rock-climbing trip was something we have been planning for a while now, and we were all pleased with the outcome. We are trying to introduce the teens to more positive Ecuadorian role models, and expose them to opportunities they may not have otherwise. Only one of the teens had ever been rock-climbing before, but after they got over the initial fear everyone seemed to really enjoy it. Mishell, one of the new teens in my adult English class, was the only girl on the trip, and the first person to reach the top of the wall. We all had a great time joking around, and cheering one another on. It was fun for me to hang out with some of my new English students outside of the classroom setting, even as they pestered me to translate inappropriate rap lyrics. The paseo was overall a great success, and we look forward to planning and executing the next one.

Carlitos (Profe Charlie) giving it a shot

Joshua and I belaying

Mishell, almost at the top

Johan getting started

Steven (TC regular) crawled up the wall like a spider

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