First Impressions of Quito

Posted in Dispatches from the Field,News,Photos

We have arrived In Quito! What a journey. After about a year of curriculum development, participant selection, training sessions in breathtaking Colorado, WE HAVE ARRIVED! Travel to Quito was a bit of an adventure in and of itself. The airline was less than helpful with our numerous overweight bags as well as having a couple of hour delay in our travel. In No Barriers fashion we plowed through as a team and all of us along with our baggage arrived in Quito around 10pm Saturday night.

It did not take long for us to realize that we were no longer in the United States. We arrived during Fiestas de Quito (Founders Day, Quito). This festival features parades, street dancing, Chives (open air party buses), and bull fights. The streets of Quito were alive and bustling. As will celebrations like this we also witnessed our share of nefarious activities. The area we are staying in appears to have its fair share of crime. It is always striking to me as I have traveled to other countries the similarities and differences between the United States and the country I am visiting. People are people no matter where they live. (Isn’t there a song about that or something?) The good and bad parts of our humanity crosses boarders and cultures.

There are a lot of conveniences for a traveler from the United States here in Ecuador. First, they use the US dollar as currency. Paper money is exactly the same here, however, their coins can be confusing. They have an amalgamation of US and Ecuadorian coins. One might receive three nickels back in change that would all be struck differently even though they are minted in the US. It can be confusing. It also appears that unlike the US, Ecuador has the common sense to do away with the paper one dollar bill. Their coins are similar to ours. The one I currently have possession of looks like any Sacagawea dollar one could obtain in the US on the face of the coin. The back is very different. I am really interested to see if I can use one of these coins back in the US. I wonder if anyone will notice. They also use a .50 cent piece which I LOVE!

Electricity delivery is the same in Ecuador as it is in the US. No adapters or special plugs needed! For those of you who have traveled from the US you know that is HUGE!

The program is progressing well in our first few days here. We had a very successful classroom day yesterday.  One of the lessons was discussing our fears. I was truly surprised that most of the collective group fears landed in 5 or 6 categories. We all share the same fears. As that discussion fleshed itself out, I felt a common bond with the group. It is nice knowing that despite having different military experiences, different cultural experience, and living in very different parts of the United States we are really not that different from each other.

Transformative programs like Soldiers to Summits change lives. That is our mission to help veterans overcome barriers and reclaim their lives. Having said that, transformative programs like Soldiers to Summits cost a lot of money. I want to thank two of the MANY sponsors of this program: Kevin and Linda Noe and Polartec for your generous support of this program. This doesn’t happen without you and I can not say thanks enough for extending your resources to Soldiers to Summits.

Until next time, Peace and Love!

-Chad Stone.

Please help us raise $1 for every foot climbed on this expedition so that we can continue to transform lives with future S2S programs.  Every dollar helps the cause! Support the Dollar for Every Step Campaign here!

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