Project: Community Development in the Amazon
1.- WHY DID YOU WANT TO VOLUNTEER ABROAD?
I am a passionate traveller, I love different cultures and getting to know different ways of life. I believe that helping others and sharing ideas is one of the most important things in life, which are leading to a better cultural understanding within the people all over the world. Being a volunteer combines all of these passions that I have.
2.- WHY DID YOU CHOOSE ECUADOR VOLUNTEER?
I was looking for a national NGO, which is supporting its people and not trying to benefit and take advantage out of the programs they are offering. Ecuador Volunteer is indeed such an organization, with passionate staff willing to put as much effort in every single task as there is need to.
3.- WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE?
Living without internet, with no phone signal in the middle of the rainforest of Ecuador. Becoming a part of a community and getting to know the story of its people. Waking up at 5am by the shouts of students in front of the house, asking if there’s going to English class at 8am, just to make sure, because they’re so looking forward to it. There were a lot of experiences and I am not able to pick a favorite one. The experience as a whole is in every detail completely recommendable.
4.- DESCRIBE YOUR PLACEMENT EXPERIENCE
I was living with a adorable couple of Professors in a house just next to the school. The houses in the rainforest are really simple, and made by the people themselves.
5.- WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THE COMMUNITY FROM VOLUNTEERING?
I learned about their needs, their fears and how they see life. I got an complete insight in their lives.
6.- OF ALL OF THE CULTURAL & LEARNING ACTIVITIES, WHICH WAS YOUR FAVORITE?
I absolutley enjoyed life without internet and phone. It makes life not only easier, but completely reduced stress and made me concentrate more on the situation and things I was doing at the moment.
7.- WHAT, IF ANYTHING, DID YOU GAIN FROM THE EXPERIENCE?
I gained a complete insight in the live of a community in the rainforest. I learned about their lifes, the things that are important to them and how the value different things. Seeing, living and becoming a member of such a community not only improved my cultural understanding, but also my view on the value of money and what is to be considered important in life.
8.- HAS YOUR ECUADOR VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE AFFECTED YOUR LIFE?
Yes, this experience indeed affected my life in many ways.
One of the most important things that I learned is sharing. When you step inside a bus in Ecuador, especially the buses going to the Community ‘Los Rios’ the first thing that will happen to you is that strangers are going to greet you like friends, and the next that you’re going to be offered a mandarin, an apple, or whatever the person next to you has. People in the Amazone Region in Ecuador seem to share everything they owe without any hesitation. This is a wonderful habit, that should be practiced on all places over the world. I am happy that I learned it.
9.- DESCRIBE YOUR OVERALL EXPERIENCE IN THREE WORDS
Really heart touching.
This post is also available in: Spanish