Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dear parents

This blog is coming to you from the Carpe Diem Home Office. We want to assure you that we are monitoring closely the 'coup' situation that is taking place currently in the northern capital city of Quito. The group is well where they are in Cuenca, which is far away from any trouble and Cuenca hasn't, in fact, felt or experienced any of the consequences from Quito.

This type of civil unrest is sadly par for the course and in the developing world has a way of - quickly and without malice - settling back to the norm. Of course, it's our protocol to have an open line of communication with the leaders just to stay aware of circumstances, but for now we're going to listen to the media and determine how long to wait until this particular storm passes.

Again, I want to emphasize that the 'coup' is, according to most news sources, not a nationwide issue. In fact, most news sources are downplaying any safety issues and the fact that State Department Notices have referred to these events as a "strike by police units and some military" clearly lead me to believe this is a fairly transitory civil issue but one we'll nonetheless continue to diligently monitor.

Stay tuned for more,
Ethan Knight,
Exec. Director

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rio Muchacho- First week

Hey family and
It´s your bloggers for the week, Claire and Natalie. We are here in Canoa, after a busy week at the organic farm Rio Muchacho. All week we woke up for farm activities at 5:30 am! We fed horses, pigs, chickens, and guinea pigs, watered plants, flowers and vegetables, cleaned up animal manure...and helped make breakfast with the senoras in the kitchen! Some of our other afternoon chores included dishes, weeding, irrigation trench digging and filling, planting, watering, etc. Although we had our hands full at the farm, we had an amazing time. Other than work, we learned about organic farming, composting, and living sustainably. Everything on the farm is 100% organic and renewable. There is no trash, and even our poop was composted to feed the plants around us, crazy we know, but its amazing how little a foot print we can make on the earth by living this way. We left with a ton of new knowledge and life lessons, not to forget how AMAZING the food was and how incredible it was to see it from in the soil to on our plates! Thank you so much to Nicole and Dario for having us and sharing with us their beautiful way of life.

Other afternoon activies on the farm included:
A visit to the local school funded by the farm,
Horseback riding,
Arts and Crafts
Tours of the farm,
Classes on sustainability and organic farming,
Climbing and hiking,
Natural mud face masks,
Chocolate and cheese making,
Camp fire sing-a-long,
and enjoying the beautiful wildlife.

As part of our thank you and farewell to Rio Muchacho, we wrote our own lyrics to "Ain´t No Moutain High Enough":

"We remember the day, not too long ago
When we first arrived at Rio Muchacho
From that day on, we made a vow
It would only be organic someway somehow

Cause baby there aint no weed thats strong enough
ain´t no ditch thats deep enough
ain´t no chanchos that stinks enough
to keep me from growing organic

Oh no darlin
No wind, no rain,
no winter storm can stop me baby
oh no babyyyy

Cause if your plants are in trouble, check the moon on the double
just send for benjamin

the seed is alive, way down in the soil
and juanita´s got that soup on boil

if you ever need a helping hand,
we´ll be there on the double,

cause baby there".....repeat chorus

Saturday, September 18, 2010


we are also working on getting some pictures up. we are encountering some difficulties, but eventually (hopefully) they will be up at

Team JAM checking in

Hey everyone! We made it to the blog WAHOO! Carpediem is da bomb. Scavenger hunt is going well, we only have a few more things to complete and we are done! Tomorrow we will leave for Rio Muchacho to stay on the organic farm. WE ARE SUPER PUMPED :D We have been staying at Siandana, a simple farm/resort/hostel/awesome place with lots of animals. There is a box of puppies that are 2 weeks old and literally SO cute, 20 peacocks running around wild (they especially love to jump up and run around on the roofs), 1 albino peacock and 1 albino bunny, 1 very loud donkey, some horses, ahout 100 impossible to see anywhere else rare species of birds , multiple ponds with fish, a pig, some goats, parrots, and our friend Mcgiver the SLOTH that espcially loves to hang out and move VERY SLOWLY around the kitchen area. so pretty much there are a ton of animals and good vibes and smiles :)
xoxo Jim, Austin N, and Megan

A brief session of blogging with Joe and Emma.

Hello everybody back home!

To get to Bahia de Caraquez (where we are now) we had to ride in a super crowded bus (Claire is to the right of Anna, not pictured) for six hours. It fostered some bonding that is for sure! Especially after the van broke down and our driver Miguel had to bang on it with a rock and somehow made it move again. Magic! Today is our first day in the actual city of Bahia de Caraquez (instead of just on the outskirts at a super nice spa) and we´re just livin it up. We had a delicious lunch right off the beach of Bahia consisting of Shrimp Ceviche, Arroz con pollo, and this interesting cotton candy bubblegum flavored soda. We´ll be leaving back to the resort pretty soon so adios familia y amigos!

Joe y Emma

Anna and Natalie's picture

We tried to upload this before, but had no luck. This is a picture of our tour of Saianda.

Anna and Natalie´s super post!

!Hola! We just finished arroz con pollo at a local restaurant in Bahia de Caraquez. We have a long list of items to scavenger. Yesterday we had a lovely tour of Saianda. There were tons of animals to see, especially the loud donkey who lives outside our room. We are enjoying our orientation and getting to know each other. Time to continue our scavenger hunt. Does anyone know why Bahia is considered a "green" city?

Catherine and Austin´s First Post :)


Currently on a scavenger hunt. Already found the banco y hostal y clinico. Awaiting us at the retreat we have many animal friends including puppies, a white peacock, donkey, and a sloth named macgyver.

Having a great time, off to get some food.

Claire y Mia Segura y Feliz en Bahia de Caraquez

Hola padres y amigos,
Somos en la ciudad de Bahia de Caraquez por este tarde para una scavenger hunt. Somos muy emocionada y feliz de los dos dias pasado y muy emocionada por los meses en el futuro. Nuestro espaƱol no es muy buena, pero estamos tratando. Saianda es muy bonita y las personas alli han sido tan bueno. no podemos mostrar nuestras fotos, pero los otros estudiantes mostraran ustedes fotos. hasta luego!
- Claire y Mia

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hasta Pronto--Sud America!

The entire SAM group has gathered effortlessly, and is now through security and on their way to the earthy realm of Ecuador where they will meet their final group member, Megan, in Bahia de Caraquez. Go Team SAM!

Look for more from the group itself in a couple of days!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jessica and Andy prepare from Portland!

Dear Emma, Megan, Austin, Austin, Joe, Jim, Catherine, Claire, Mia, David, Anna, and Natalie!

! Buenos dias amigos! Esperemos que ustedes esten emocionados por nuestro viaje. Ready to fly with the help of some great leaders and an awesome student group? Either way, we are here to support you.

We have spoken to most of you by now. It was a pleasure to hear your voices, know a little more about you, and answer some of your questions. If you have not talked with us yet, please check your messages and call us on our cell phone as soon as possible! Not only will we go over a check list of details you should know, but also we will give you the meeting time and place at LAX.

This is our travel blog where all of our friends and family back home can keep up with our adventures. Each week one of you will be our official "blogger" and will get to write our travel tales for our dedicated followers around the globe. We encourage you to peruse past blogs to get an idea of what they might look like. Also, please inform your family and friends of this site, so they will know what an amazing and authentic experience we are having.

We hope you have been enjoying your summer. We encourage you to take advantage of your favorite treats from home before starting our South American adventures. (Jessica always misses sus dos gatitos) We are very excited to meet you and thrilled to discover what lessons lay ahead!!!

Andy and Jessica