Gearing up for this summer trip to Ecuador went remarkably smoother than last summer. Maybe it's because I didn't have to stop for Visa photos *on the way* to the airport. Or maybe it's because I started packing sooner than *the day before* my departure. Regardless of my feelings of preparedness, I'm amazed at how much stuff I crammed into my backpack at the last minute. I mean, do I really need a raincoat AND an umbrella during the dry season in Ecuador?
At any rate, I'm quite excited to return to my passion of global volunteer work, a passion I discovered only last summer. This trip represents a commitment to a new life trajectory set into motion just last year. Fortunately I have a loving wife that whole-heartedly supports these endeavors. And for that, I am truly grateful.
After pondering my goals for this journey, I'm able to sum them up in two goals: (1) to engage, and (2) to be engaged. The first refers to a deliberate outward approach in helping impoverished children see the light in themselves. My work this year takes me to the streets of Quito in the Street Children Program, organizing activities for kids who would otherwise be working as street vendors with their parents. The second goal is more an attempt at vulnerability, allowing myself to be changed by the culture I experience and the people I encounter. While I recognize that there's no way to objectively measure my achievement of these goals, I try to convince myself that enduring changes in this world are much sooner felt than quantified.