Meaningful and helpful in Ecuador

Posted on the 15th March 2019

A volunteer interview with Sammy on his placement as a Community Worker and English Tutor in Ecuador.

Tell us about your placement and role.
community work ecuador

I worked as an English teacher in the local school and with some of the adults in the community, in Comunidad de Yunguilla, Ecuador. I also worked doing various tasks around the community and on the community farm (gardening, cheese and jam production, cow milking, road and infrastructure work, cleaning of touristic facilities, some translation work).

What was your accommodation like?

Each month I lived with a different host family in the community, which was really nice because I got to know more of the families very well. On the weekends I lived in the capital of Ecuador, Quito, with another host family. In all of my accommodations I always had my own room and the houses were quite simple but nice.

What was the high point of your placement?

Working with the kids was so great. I felt really connected to each of them and had so much fun finding different ways to teach them and engage them in the English language. During my time in Ecuador, I also ended up organizing a dog rescue for a stray dog in the community that I ended up building a strong bond with. I sorted out all of his vet requirements and set up an adoptive family for him back in Canada. It didn’t end up working out with him and the family, and he eventually came to live with me in Victoria, which is fantastic.

How did you find the support you received before departure?
lattitude ecuador

What I liked about the briefing was getting to know other volunteers who I would be with and I also enjoyed meeting with  past Ecuador volunteers to ask any questions I had about their experiences while in the country. It was nice to talk to someone with first hand knowledge on cultural differences, how people act down there, common diets and things they found surprising/different while they were there.

Do you have any advice you would offer to future volunteers at your placement?

I would say, consider bringing an e-reader as it is pretty quiet at night and dark so there isn’t always a lot to entertain yourself with. Also make sure you interact and get to know your family and participate in the community events and gatherings, they love to have a party or play volleyball (ecuavoley) on the weekends.

Did you experience match up with your expectations?

I feel like overall my expectations for my volunteering placement were pretty in line with my experience. As someone going into environmental studies for university, I was excited to do some ecological/ecotouristic work in Yunguilla, as that is part of the work they do in the community. I think I did less of that work than I had anticipated but I felt like I was doing the work that was meaningful and helpful to the community.

Do you feel you made an impact?

I felt like I was pretty helpful and I think it was useful for them to have some extra hands to do work in the different areas of the community. I also felt proud of the work I did with teaching English to some of the adults in the community; I felt like I was really able to help them in reaching their goals.

 
Discover more about our Ecuador programmes here!

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