Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gary Duncan, Assistant Director of Marketing

We have returned from the Galapagos Islands after four days of visiting five islands that are not only remarkable for their isolation, but also the creatures that live here. From pigmy penguins to marine iguanas, the sponsors were fascinated by our daily hikes over volcanic and almost barren islands that fascinated Charles Darwin almost 200 years ago.

Today, we journey north of Quito to the Imbabura Province which is known as the Lake District in Ecuador. It actually reminds me a lot of Austria with huge snow-covered peaks and lush green valleys full of rushing clear-water streams. CCF has numerous programs in this area, working with people whose work is in agricultural and live in dire poverty. We will stay tonight in a colonial hacienda that once hosted Simon Bolivar on numerous occasions (he is the George Washington of South America) and was instrumental in many countries gaining their independence from Spain.

Today is also the day that the Rodriquez family from Miami will get to meet their sponsored child. The Study Tour also marks the first time we have had an intergenerational group traveling with us, Marlen, her 15 year old daughter, and her mother! We also have the youngest person to ever travel on a Study Tour with us in Ecuador----his name is Luc and he is a very inquisitive little boy who many of the sponsors have called “the Energizer bunny” since Luc has boundless energy and personality.

The weather in Ecuador has been wonderful-- sunny, temperatures in the 70´s and little rain! Kudos to our Ecuadorian staff that have shown us tremendous hospitality and kindness throughout this trip. What a country with such gracious people!!!

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