Fast-forward one week, and I was standing on the edge of a bridge, precariously perched 100 meters above a gorge, hoping my bungee gear wouldn’t snap when I decided to jump.
A few days after that, I was on plane saying goodbye to it all, absorbing a final glance of the shrinking Andes mountains, a final look at Quito, until the clouds consumed everything and Ecuador became a memory.
It all began on May 4, when 32 university students from across Canada, including me, landed in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, ready to volunteer in an isolated community deep in the Amazon jungle.
The main aspect of our volunteering was building outdoor bathrooms around the community. We dug gargantuan foundation holes by hand, slinging dirt in muggy, tropical heat, relieved by the occasional downpour.
The work was grueling, but it was an awesome feeling to step back and take the bathrooms in, knowing we’d made a change in people’s lives.
Volunteering with the local kids took our experience to the next level. We visited a local school to play games and help teach English, and the kids were pumped to see us, chanting, “Gringos, gringos, gringos,” when they knew we were about to enter their classroom.
Once our volunteer work was complete, we were able to spend a week exploring. I can hardly describe it because it all seemed so unreal — hiking for hours, swinging from vines like Tarzan, shooting 12-foot blowguns, playing with monkeys, swimming in a majestic river at sunrise every morning.
My advice, whenever life gives you the opportunity to do something awesome (which it will): Do it — better yet, don’t wait for a reason, just do something.
Take bungee jumping. I still remember what our instructor, José, told us and I want you to remember it too — 10 words sum up our adventure in Ecuador and say a lot about life.
“The more far you jump, the more fun you have.”
Postsecondary students, take a jump. Check out vesabroad.com. The world is full of adventure, and it’s your job to discover it.
Calvin Henderson is a second-year Law and Justice student at Laurentian University, and an avid world explorer.