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Geography was one of my favourite subjects. An atlas used to be one of favourite books. I cannot imagine not knowing.


You are giving them so much, are they just eating it all up? Will someone replace you when you leave Ecuador?

I am fascinated to hear more about what you are doing and the stories of the boys you work with.


You're also giving them an option for an alternative life! By teaching them geography, you're planting little seeds in their heads that may make them think (even if it's years down the road) that they want more than what their little spot on the map offers them. That is such a great thing!

My niece is 12 and my nephew is 15 and I try to encourage them, as they get older, that they should get out of Maine and explore what the world has to offer...not to just settle here where they live because that's all they know.

I applaud you for your efforts!



I think that it is awesome that you are sharing geography with them. I often feel really sad for people who don't have an opportunity to see how big and exciting the world is, how full of opportunity. Quito isn't alone in how isolated its poor youth are; Baltimore has a serious problem with this. I remember the kids being incredulous when Joe told them that he was an artist and that you could do that for a living. Many of them only knew the careers of social worker, teacher, policeman, and drug dealer.

See you soon!


You are doing such a wonderful job Risa!You can be realy proud of what you did in Equador!!xoxo


i envy you for the lovely social work you do. :) and i liked so much the what the world eats series! thank u! :)


a beautifully written post sweetie. you have given these kids so much in the time you are in should be very comes from your heart which is so much better than a tv series!!!! xxx


There's no knowledge too small, knowing how big the world is and your relative location is a fascinating fact in itself.
I think you make a great teacher risa, it must be so inspiring for the youths to learn these things- I'm sure you'd be missed.


Always know that knowledge is not useless. It doesn't have to be immediately applicable; it always opens the door to more knowledge.

Jose Andrade

Wow... probably the best post you've ever made.

Gracias por cambiar la vida de mis compatriotas necesitados! :)


Sound like you have been doing a great job with these boys. Keep on!

Tiel S-K

as kids, we would play 'what's the capital of....' when we went out for dinner with our parents. I used to know all the capitals of the countries in South America...ask me now and I'd only know a few. But your point is a good one.


The boys are so lucky to have someone that cares and shares knowledge. You literally have opened up the world to them. Keep up the great work Santa Risa!

Vanessa V

I am almost sad and heartbroken for those boys. Or for any child who doesn't get to dream about the world beyond. It expands their horizons and gives them dreams to reach for? Although, perhaps it is too hard for these kids. Gosh. I know, I see this a lot in Mexico too..... I am sure they will remember your and your kindess forever!!!! xxxoooo


Sometimes I believe, we deal with the same problems ( but different reasons) all over the world: my children, after 10 years of school and lots of lessons cancelled (lack of teachers), have fundamental problems with the map :(. And yesterday I was in a forest-school, showing stuffed animals to give children the possibility to learn more about the animals in the forests here: a small boy was crying out:"parrot", pointing on a green woodpecker;).
Live has changed a lot with all the TV-hours,
computer hours, and the economy/commerce making the rules what we have to learn to get a good job (what is a small spectrum). There is a big lack of life-education.


how interesting! as a kid I loved pondering about the world around me and couldnt wait to get out and travel once i finished school! now I know why I had so many penpals around the world - other places, countries and traditions just fascinate me!! its such an important lesson...Im sure the boys will appreciate! a funny story - our local radio station was in LA for the MTV awards recently and were interviewing americans off the street - most had no idea where australia was, they thought we ate alligators and had kangaroos jumping all over the place!!


I too was lucky enough to grow up in a family where travellling was something that happened at least 3 times a year - often not far but at least exploring my own country as a child, and occassionally further such as the US, Denmark and Switzerland. With 2 teachers for parents, one of them a geography teacher at that, there was always something to learn and wonder about and some amazing places to see. I continued in the family tradition and studied geography at University! Maps and atlases are just the best! I am so happy that you were able to share this thrill with the boys and to enable them to start thinking about their country and it's place in the world a little more!! Keep up the great work!!

Veronica TM

i think what you are doing is very important and contributes to their lives in a big way.
i was very surprised all the times i was asked if argentina was in brazil or if it was next to holland, etc. in my years here in the usa.
hope you are having a wonderful week, risa!

simple me

above all what you do is to make the lives of these kids richer and I'm so glad that there are many people like you contributing to a better world.
for me it is no surprise that these kids may not be able to know where certain countries are. what has often "shocked" me is people in european countries not knowing where other european countries are. I often met people in the UK asking me if portugal was a city in spain and other similar things. I met people coming to a university library and asking what an encyclopedia was.


i love looking at maps.
i think it is good work you are doing showing them maps, location of countries, cities, etc. perhaps it will inspire them to dream to go somewhere and because of it, better their life.


Estás haciendo un gran trabajo con esos chicos.

Es estpendo que existan personas como tú!


what you have brought these kids may not be immediately apparent in their everyday lives, but it will change their outlook in such subtle yet profound ways... you have expanded the boundaries of possibility for them, which is truly amazing.

Hotel In Quito Ecuador

I've being reading about Ecuador and reading your blog, I found your post very helpful :) . I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading.

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