OUR EXPEDITIONS >
This trip was awesome, one of the high points of my life; it refreshed
my soul and lifted my spirit to new a new high. Combined was an
incredible outdoor adventure and a very special humanitarian project
that profoundly touched me, all while making some life-long
friendships. I loved the trip, and am ready to go on another one. Mike Scalora, Utah
Ecuador 2009 Trek
Mike Scalora, Utah
Trip Report: Ecuador 2009 - Mt. Cotapaxi
With the completion of 2009’s Marquee Trek to Ecuador, it is safe to say that Trekking for Kids has outdone itself – again!
For 6 days, a group of 22 people (14 of whom were repeat participants) led by our Lead Trekker, professional mountaineer Luis Benitez, trekked up and across the Andes Mountains in Cotopaxi National Park on our way to the 19,347 foot summit of Mt. Cotopaxi, Ecuador’s second-highest glaciated volcano.
Although it stands only 7 feet higher than our previous conquest – Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro – the mountain’s icy summit presented a whole different set of new and exciting challenges. Not only was the climb fairly steep, but we also had to learn to work with new gear, including harnesses, ice axes and crampons – not to mention being tied to one another in rope teams. Then of course we had to contend with the unpredictable weather patterns typical of this type of mountain. In the span of several hours, it went from cold and clear, to cloudy and windy and snowing with the summit becoming a virtual ‘white out’ and the perfect ‘cap’ on the entire trekking part of our experience.
As for the “for Kids” part of our expedition, it too, was unforgettable. As usual, we chose an orphanage in the local area where the trek took place. In this case, it was the Casa Hogar Madre Rafaela de la Pasion Veintimilla in Quito, home to 23 girls, ages 2 to 21. In spite of a persistently challenging economic climate, our trekkers again managed to surpass our goal of $35,000 and raised over $38,000 to benefit the girls.
Working in collaboration with well-known architect, Arturo Loyaza and his team of local laborers, the funds were used to make several of our signature high impact capital improvements to the orphanage. First we completely remodeled their kitchen and installed new, state-of-the-art appliances, new cabinets, a large pantry and a new tile floor. The floors in the remainder of the main house were also replaced, along with getting a much-needed fresh coat of paint. Finally the wardrobes where the girls keep their belongings were also repaired.
However, perhaps the most obvious contribution was the addition of an entire new building consisting of three units. The first is a clinic/infirmary complete with an exam table and other basic equipment and medicines. The second is a spacious laundry room equipped with their own, new washer/dryer and ironing press, along with an entire wall of storage cabinets. The laundry facility is complemented by a series of adjoining outdoor sinks where the girls can also wash their clothes by hand. Lastly, the third unit is a storeroom that will safely house dry foodstuffs and other items that require long-term storage.
The remainder of the funds was used to purchase some very basic personal hygiene items like soap, shampoo, and underwear as well as much needed school supplies and winter sleepwear. Finally, 2 laptops, a printer and a digital camera were bought to help the girls with their school work and to keep them connected to a rapidly-changing world.
As usual, we were also able to take the children on an all day fieldtrip to the town of Mindo, located two hours from Quito in a cloud forest, where we visited the Mindo Butterfly Farm and shared a delicious lunch. The afternoon was then spent zipping above the cloud forest canopy, several hundred feet above the ground on a series of zip lines. Finally, as also has become our tradition, we all danced the evening away to the sounds of local musicians, at a party held at the orphanage. Attended by not only the girls, but also by neighbors and members of the local community. It was truly an ecuador celebration and a testament to the heart of our organization: the desire to help create a place that these misplaced children can proudly call ‘home’.
On behalf of Trekking for Kids and all of the trekkers on the 2009 Marquee Trek to Ecuador, thank you for trusting us and for taking this journey alongside us...With your help we truly do make a difference...One Step at a Time!
Ecuador 2009: Trek Report
22 Trekkers joined TFK to reach new heights, trekking for 6 days and summiting the 19,347 ft. volcano, Mt. Cotopaxi.
Ecuador 2009: Orphanage Report
Watch how 22 trekkers transformed an all girls orphange in Quito Ecuador.