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Purcell Marian High school students stuck abroad after Boeing 737 grounding

Posted at 10:49 PM, Mar 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-16 23:32:53-04

Three days after President Trump announced all Boeing 737 flights would be grounded for safety precautions, a group of Purcell Marian high students on a service trip are stuck in Ecuador.

The students and their teacher, Bob Herring, were supposed to arrive home at CVG Saturday, but after the order to ground 737 Max 8 and 9 planes, they're stuck in Ecuador until Tuesday.

The group of 9 students traveled to Ecuador on a service trip organized by the Tandana Foundation. During their stay, they lived with local families, helped build a soccer field, and cleared debris from the roads to prevent flooding and landslides. Herring said the group is making the best of their flight delay, by learning more about the local culture while they're there.

"So this evening, the students are learning how to cook Ecuadorian cuisine," said Herring, director of the Purcell Marian High School International Baccalaureate program. "We're going to spend Monday in Quito on a walking tour of the historic district. We'll cross the equator and put one foot in the Northern hemisphere and one foot in the Southern hemisphere. We'll hike tomorrow to a waterfall."

The student group has been in Ecuador since March 6, but Herring says the students aren't complaining about a few extra days abroad. The Tandana Foundation, however, has had to work a bit to accommodate the students' lenghtened stay, according to founder Anna Taft.

"We as a Tandana staff had to scramble a little bit to come up with plans on the fly, because we were expecting the group to have already departed and we're getting ready for another group that is coming in about a week," said Taft.

Herring said, however, that as long as the students are in Ecuador, he's working to help them continue to learn more about the country and its cultures.

"It really opened the eyes of our students to what is life, what life is like for folks who don't have the same material possessions, or same advantages or access to the same technology that we have," said Herring. "I had to cancel a couple of meetings and so on and so forth, but that's nothing, nothing compared to what we're learning here and what we're experiencing."