Sebastian Orozco saw broccoli for the first time in his life at the SALEM center in Mindo, Ecuador. He was 10 years old and wary of the unfamiliar green trees, opting to hide them in his napkin. Before attending SALEM, Sebas hadn’t had many opportunities to try new things or consider eating a wider variety of vegetables. So much changed in his life as he began visiting the center.
“At first things were hard. They kept telling me to not rip leaves off the bushes, or bring candy or junk food to the center, that I couldn’t leave without permission. The SALEM guides always explained the reasons behind the rules, and eventually it made sense to me. Now I think about the plants, the animals, and how to be a good person.”
Although Sebas isn’t 100% vegetarian these days, the 20-year old Communications major at Bolivar State University appreciates a low-meat diet and loves broccoli and well as other vegetables and salads. He works at SALEM part- time in the garden and maintains the center grounds. He also manages the Mindo Informa Facebook page and the Mindo Radio station that airs every Saturday. He is grateful to SALEM for teaching him how to respect the opinions of others and how to live and work in community. He can’t wait to travel after he graduates and plans on becoming the future director of SALEM Ecuador. We look forward to having you in charge here someday Sebas!