Moves, Mountains, and Music

Today was another great day at chess camp. The kids are learning a lot and progressing very quickly. The beginners learned how to move all of the pieces and played their first full games. In the advanced room, the students played Bughouse, a fast paced version of chess where players have partners. Argenis and Mayarí, an eight year old, won all of their games against the other campers and emerged as champions of the first day of Bughouse.

Argents and Mayari make a great team

Argenis is one of the best chess players at the camp. He used to go to school at Amor y Esperanza, but he left before this past school year. However, he liked chess so much when the Whitefield EMT was here last summer that he came back to camp this week. He quickly proved himself as a superior player by dominating in the advanced room. We are so grateful to God that Argenis was able join us at camp.  Mayari is the youngest student in the experienced room and Roberto believes she has a very bright future in chess.  You can see the joy in her eyes as she plays and she is showing great potential just like Argenis did last year.

Argenis and Mayarí pose after excelling in Bughouse

Midway through the camp, we all took a break from chess and went to the patio for soccer and relaxation. This was probably everyone’s favorite part of the day. The children immediately started to play soccer and they went all out. Zach joined in the game and scored a few goals, but the Ecuadorians were hard to keep up with. Roberto also decided to play, and despite his age and taking a nasty fall, scored a goal. He also held his own for a long time as keeper. Roberto says that us Americans are better at doing stuff with our hands than with our feet, hence why he was best at keeper in fútbol.

Roberto makes a surprisingly athletic save
Zach enjoys getting totally outplayed by children half his age

When we were not playing soccer during break, we were loving and talking to the kids. I (Zach) had a great time getting to know two little girls, Vale (7) and Mayarí (8). They were so cute and talkative and I really enjoyed being there with them. Mayari was particularly impressive. We got into a conversation (in Spanish) about cellphones. She said that she had one, and I was very surprised. I asked her why she had one if she is only eight. She told me that her parents work a lot, and she has to take care of her three year old brother. WOW! This girl is only eight, and she is constantly babysitting a younger child. She also used the word responsibilidad (responsibility). I was so impressed with her maturity and responsibility while playing chess and while talking. This was really a wakeup call for me to stop complaining when I have to do something. This girl does more work and has more responsibility than me, and she is almost ten years younger. This is just one of many examples of the work God is doing here and the inspiration He is bringing about on this trip.

Vale wears Zach’s hat during break

After camp, the kids ate lunch, jammed out to Despacito, and played cards before heading to the Pichincha Volcano with Pancho and Roberto. After arriving at TeleferiQo, we rode two gondolas up the mountain and took in the incredible view. It was truly an amazing representation of God’s handiwork and creation. After walking around for a while, we headed back to the house to relax and have a wii basketball tournament (Drew won with Kobi Bryant and the Lakers). All the kids except Zach then took Scooby for a walk and played basketball and soccer in the park.

The kids eat and jam out to Despacito (indisputably the best Bieber song)
Different prices for Ecuadorians and tourists at the TeleferiQo!
Roberto, Pancho, and the girls board the gondola
The family poses at 13,000 feet of elevation

Following our time at the park, Zach and Zoe practiced music for their evening “concert” that Roberto had requested as a birthday present. (Zach plays ukulele, guitar, and sings, while Zoe plays violin and sings.) Afterwards, everyone ate dinner, a delicious meal of filet mignon, homemade french fries, rice, and pound cake. Roberto was very happy, especially about the tasty papas fritas!

After dinner, Zach and Zoe went back to practicing, while Danny, Mateo, and Drew were finally learning to dunk on Wii basketball. Once the duo were finished getting ready, everyone gathered in the living room for the music. Zach and Zoe played a combination of songs they had done at the Bean (Whitfield’s talent show) in previous years, and some new songs that they are planning to play at the Bean in the future. Zach also tried to learn to perform Despacito with his ukulele, but I guess he just doesn’t have the Spanish singing skills of Justin Bieber.

Zoe and Zach play songs by The Lumineers, Johnny Cash, and Bob Dylan

We closed off our time together in prayer and then everyone left the room to do their own thing. The boys, of course, continued playing Wii basketball before going to bed.

We are looking forward to another day of chess camp tomorrow! Thanks for reading today’s post!  Adiós!


2 thoughts on “Moves, Mountains, and Music”

  1. I look forward to reading about your experiences in Equador. So proud of the Justice League!
    Gan Mama

  2. loving the blog! hope the rest of your time in Equador is as fun and inspiring :} love. papa tom

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