Mohawk faculty visit Ecuador to learn how to organize and plan global experiences for students
A group of 10 Mohawk College faculty and staff travelled to Ecuador in February for a nine-day Food Revolution program with Operation Groundswell, partially funded through a generous donation from Guard.Me.
The purpose of the trip was to offer training to faculty who are interested in organizing and facilitating short-term abroad experiences with students. Delivering experiential learning opportunities that develop cutlural awarness, while increasing global skill sets and expanding cultural awareness is a strategic priority for Mohawk.
While in Ecuador the group first visited the city of Quito for an orientation session, including Spanish language lessons, and a cooking class. They then travelled to the Fundacion Brethren y Unidad where they spent a few days planting trees, farming, and working alongside local youth while learning about food sustainability.
Next, the group made the long voyage to Santo Domingo where they stayed with local Tsa'chila families, a small group of indigenous people, learning about traditional crops, medicines and ceremonies and how to extract beans from the cacao plant into coffee. This experience was followed by a visit to Shunka Bee Farm in Machachi where the group learned about the importance of bees and the threats that bees are facing with factory farming, mass harvesting and climate change. The visit bee farm visit included planting flowers for the bees, clearing fields, and gently harvesting bees wax.
The faculty finished their trip in Quito where they spent some time touring the city, including well-known sites such as the Middle of the World museum and monument, standing with each foot on either side of the equator and learning more about the traditional peoples of Ecuador.
Trip organizer and participant, Natalie Hughes said, "The group returned with warm hearts, bug bites, new perspectives, and much love for a beautiful country. The changing altitude and temperature, the rain, the humbling quarters, and the hard work only added to an intensely joyful, emotional, and educational experience for everyone involved."