Touching the Clouds ☁️

- 07.12.17 -

On this day, all 13 students of the Ecuador Global Seminar made their way to Pichincha Volcano to participate in one of the many tourist attractions: The Teleferico! This is a gondola-like style lift that allows its visitors to witness a magnificent view of the city. With a 13,000 ft. altitude overlooking Quito -- it's an experience that'll leave you feeling like you were on top of the world. Aside from the exhilarating ride up and spectacular view, there are several hiking trails that offer a visit to a chapel, pictures with adorable llamas, and many other panoramic views.

When we were up there, we were not left short of opportunities to further observe and analyze the social interactions between the people of Ecuador. There was one large group in particular that caught my attention: there were two women handling multiple children at a time, and the whole scene looked chaotic, but there was one comment that initially drew me to notice this family. One of the women suddenly yells to her toddler, "Ve con cuidado gordo." To the untrained ear, someone could easily assume this mother just insulted her child--but I easily took away two things from that: 1. The mother clearly trusted her son to be ahead along the trail up the mountain without showing signs of despair or anxiety for his safety which leads to my second point...2. The mother sent off her child with faith that he would also make good decisions for himself plus she also used a cute term of endearment, "gordo," Many Western families would never dare to let their children roam freely along the side of a volcano, but that was not the norm by which this family structure was functioning under--just like in Inge Bolin's book, Growing Up in a Culture of Respect : Child Rearing in Highland Peru (2008), the family dynamic was built around mutual respect and trust between adult to child. 

Holistically, this is the city that we have come to learn about culture, cognition, education, language and all of it's intersectionalities. Therefore, when you can stand at one of the highest points in the city, you can really take a step back, look around, and reflect on the fact that the prominence of child rearing, cultural practices can be found anywhere, and that the things you read in books and articles are nothing less than the reality of this dynamic city. 


  1. Great observation of the mothers and children group! I first interpreted the phrase as a demanding order. It also reminds me of how teachers back in China would react to such situations-the practice is between Western and Ecuadorian.

  2. I love how you connected this experience with the book we are reading in class!

  3. I think it's so interesting to see the differences in childrearing when we travel. As the professor said, it really makes us check our own ways of thinking and question "is this morally wrong, or just not the way I have seen things done?"


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