By Julia Camara | Contributor
A massive earthquake shook the shores and cities of Ecuador on Saturday, tearing up motorways, destroying homes and leaving the entire country in a debilitated state. The New York Times said the 7.8-magnitude earthquake is the worst Ecuador has seen in decades, killing at least 570 people and injuring thousands.
Taylor's study abroad program in Cuenca, Ecuador, where TU students are currently studying, is home to many host families. No Taylor students have been harmed by the earthquake, and Cuenca was not severely impacted by the disaster.
Taylor's small population of Ecuadorians long to be home supporting their country.
Junior Ruben Bedon is thankful to God that his family was not affected by the quake; however, he said an alumni from his high school was killed in the destruction.
"I don't know him exactly, but it is still sad," Bedon said.
Freshman Pato Borja said when he heard the news, his heart went out to the people of Ecuador. Other hearts ache as well, such as sophomore Celeste Pauta's.
"None of my family or friends have been impacted . . . I can't imagine being here and the people I love suffering. I know that God has control, but I just wish I can be there to support them," Pauta said.
Bedon said that he feels powerless as his country needs him right now to be serving and helping it recover. Ecuadorian students all over campus feel a similar helplessness and frustration over residing in the U.S. while their people are struggling to survive in the aftermath.
Most Ecuadorian Taylor students and their families were not directly impacted by the quake as the worst-hit areas are on the coast.
At this point, many in Ecuador remain homeless and without clean food or water. Bedon explained that several people impacted by the quake have not left their half-destroyed houses because they fear people will steal their furniture.
One positive thing Bedon has seen as a result of the earthquake is the love and willingness of the whole country to stand up again.
"It is so amazing," Bedon said. "People are sending food, water, clothes and many other products that are valuable for the people without it."
Bedon believes the government of Ecuador is committed to helping and supporting those touched by the devastating impact of the earthquake.