Sugeidy’s Story of Change

During our fourth module, when we visited the main campus of Outward Bound in mainland Ecuador, the entire group had the opportunity of experiencing an Outward Bound activity called the “Solo.” Each one was left alone for 18 hours in a specific place
of the summit of a mountain called Cubillín. They were left there with a tent, a sleeping bag, fruit, plenty of water and some sugar cane candy. They spent those 18 hours in utter silence, alone and listening to the various sounds of the Ecuadorian Andes. At 5:30 in the afternoon, and right in the middle of the Solo, I came out of my tent to see the sunset.

As I watched towards the south I saw a small tent about 500 meters away with a person standing next to it quietly watching Cayambe volcano that stands at 5700 m.a.s.l. I quickly recognized that that person was Sugeidy and looked tiny in comparison to the massive volcano that rose right in front of her. She was there by herself, with nothing more than her tent, mesmerized by the incredible landscape in front of her. I remember thinking that this is a 16 year old young woman from a little town in an oceanic island; it was her first time in that area of the country, the first time that she climbed a mountain, which she did laughing all the way up, and the first time that she saw a snowcapped volcano. She didn’t seem frightened as she prepared to spend the night all by herself, in fact she looked totally at ease as the night slowly swept in.

Robert Balfour, Program Coordinator – Academy of Agents of Change.