Location: The Amazon

Surrounded by our mosquito nets, we woke up anticipating our day with the Amazonian children. After eating a delicious meal of eggs, we put on our muddy boots from the previous days and ventured down to our canoe. When we arrived at the shore, an open bus greeted us. We drove to Hectors school, and the children welcomed us with huge smiles on their faces. Doria brought a soccer ball, so we started a big game of soccer with the kids that lasted about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, other children were playing around a tree with the bubbles several of us had given them. The little Amazonian girls led some of us to a bountiful garden full of blooming flowers. The girls were bursting with joy as they braided our hair and decorated it with the gorgeous flowers. After many other activities consisting of coloring and racing, we had a tasty lunch in Hector’s schoolhouse. Just when we thought we had to leave, the Amazonian girls treated us with an elegant cultural dance. On top of that, surprise, they pulled us in to dance with them too! Saying goodbye was hard, but we knew we would have these memories for the rest of our lives.

With half of the day left, Hector took us on an adventure called the Toxic Tour to see what the oil drilling has done and is continuing to do to the Amazon rainforest. Many emotions were brought up in all of us as we saw first hand the oil remains that overcame a yard belonging to an innocent citizen. In our drive around the town and surrounding area, we saw many oil wells along with huge oil processing plants. This experience surely opens our eyes and showed us what we need to do to help prevent further damage. To lighten the mood, we stopped to get some ice cream that we had all been craving for days now. Once we all finished our ice cream, we headed back to our canoe that awaited us in the river. After many hard working days in the Amazon, exhaustion overcame us, so we were all grateful for some free time for napping or packing for our departure the next day. As usual, we had a fantastic meal for our last dinner. We thought our excitement for the day was over, but we were surprised when Hector showed us an amazing slideshow of his incredible experiences in the Amazon. Just like the many other days we have had on this trip, today was eye-opening and fantastic.