Schools in Tena

Welcome to the Amazon!

On the Amazon River while we were boating!

Isn't it beautiful? For our third week in Ecuador, our group traveled to various locations in the Amazon to visit a range of school, and we were able to interact with the students and parents to learn more about their education systems. So, let's get started!


Unidad Educative National Tena- International Baccalaureate 

Global Seminar students​ with students going on their last year of the IB program


In the city of Tena, there are not many resources for theses communities, but there have been many efforts to provide more opportunities for its students. This school has been a part of the International Baccalaureate program for quite some time now, and it allows student the opportunity to achieve in high level classes to better their education. The way one gets into the program is by taking a series of entrance exams to see if one will be placed into the IB program. There are only two classes that participate in their IB program; therefore, it is very competitive. Unfortunately, it was the program's last day of school, but we were still able to meet with about ten to thirteen students from one classroom. Learning English is also a part of their curriculum, so we were able to communicate with them in English to allow them to practice their English skills by breaking up into small groups. There was so many things that the global seminar students learned from the IB students. They spoke about how life was in Tena, how their education system works, and of course, how they have fun. It was so interesting to hear about their lives and ambitions, and in a short amount of time, we all gain new friendships. The IB students were very open and honest with us when they would answer our questions, and they were also very curious about our lives back in States.  It was a wonderful experience!  The two groups had quickly become one big group of students laughing and enjoying ones' company. From our conversations, it gave me new outlooks on life. I feel that at times, I take my education for granted not truly realizing how great of an opportunity that I've been given. They reminded me that it takes a lot of hard work, but that one shouldn't be discouraged to keep on going. I wish we could have spent more time with them because it was sad that we had to say goodbye to them so soon.

Escuela Fiscal "Emilio Cceco"

Working on the minga by pulling out weeds and moving rocks

The school consists of 23 teachers and 400 students, and although they have received some funding from the government, it is not enough to provide all the resources for their students. Here at the Escuela Fiscal, our group contributed to the minga that they were having by helping them out and donating supplies. Like done at San Clemente Community, a Minga is when a big or small part of the community comes together to perform some type of community service. Our minga would be cleaning up the school by pulling some weeds, and painting the chairs and tables to give it a newer look; however, the main project was to build a new bathroom because they only had one stall for each gender for the entire school. Therefore, it was not enough for all the students that they have there. After we arrived at the school, one of the main directors of the school greeting us and called all the community members through a micropohone and speaker to come on out to give a helping hand. "Ahora, empezamos la minga!". As soon as he said the phrase "now we will start the minga!", everyone went to work! All the global seminar students intermingled with the Muyuna community, and they began to ask what tasks needed to be done. Our first task was to go around the courtyard area and pull out all the weeds/other grass debris and pile them up, so it would be easier to throw them out. While some students continued pulling out weeds, others created an assembly line in order to bring rocks closer to where the foundation of the bathroom was going to be made. Lastly, some students went to work with some adults from the community to apply varnish on the desks and chairs. Throughout the minga, many of the students took it upon themselves to interact with the children, and when asked about school, they all had said how much they enjoyed being able to learn. Many of the children then continued to mention their favorite subjects ranging from math and reading to arts and PE; some children would smile at me and snicker because there favorite subject was recess. Continuing on with the minga, we were able to get all the chairs and tables painted as well as the weeds out, but the bathroom still needed some work. As the minga came to an end, like many other mingas, we all eat at the end to celebrate a hard day of work. Even though it was a long hard working day, it was amazing to be able to work with the community. We had all barely met this community, but they had welcomed us with open arms and we all quickly connected! These activities are the ones that really allow us students to learn more about new communities and cultural experiences.


  1. I agree! The members of the Muyuna community are definitely the most hardworking people I have ever met. Their dedication to their children and their education is an inspiration to all. They were very welcoming and so grateful to us for helping them during the minga. Little do they know, however, that us, students, were beyond grateful for having been allowed the opportunity to share in this hard work with them. And the children -- so easy to fall in love with!

  2. The Muyuna community will have a special place in my heart. Their school directors were so welcoming and so friendly. I remember when we first arrived, everyone exchanged handshakes, hugs, and kisses. They treated us like we were part of their community.

    I am blown away by how united their community is. When the ceremony and speeches were on going, the parents were still working on in the background. I feel so lucky to have meet such a wonderful community.

  3. The kids at the minga touched my heart and made me super emotional. There was a little girl who had been taking care of her younger brother all day that really impacted me in particular. Despite being responsible for her little brother and probably tired, she seriously had one of the brightest smiles!

  4. I was really bummed I had to miss the minga because of pesky diarrhea :( However, meeting the students the day before from the IB School and playing soccer with some people from Tena helped to make that up with making friendships and allowing me to bond with others while passing a soccer ball.


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