Volunteer Name:  Morgan Mercer
Project Location: Quito, Ecuador
Program Dates: October 1st – December 15th
Volunteered at: Children Center

1- How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
The ABV coordinator was amazing. I knew with full confidence that any problem I had I could go to her and she would address it immediately. She was very understanding and enthusiastic.

2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
The most surprising thing I experienced was the realization of the extent of the poverty here.

3- What was most difficult to experience?
After getting to know all of the amazing children at my program and finding out how extraordinary they were, I realized that there are so many other children just like them that, for many reasons, will never get the treatment or care that they need to reach their full potential. This was the most difficult thing I experienced.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
- Local people here don’t wear shorts so bring mostly pants, shorts are only worn for weekend traveling.
- Personal items (shampoo, soap, sunscreen) are better to bring from home because it is typically much more expensive here.
- Travel as much as you can on the weekends, there’re so many fun places to go in Ecuador.

5-Other things volunteers should know:
a) You are able to easily change projects if you want to check out the other projects
b) The Spanish lessons are great, extremely helpful, but it would be better to do the classes every other week so that you have one week of studying and the next week for exploring the city and practicing what you learned the previous week as opposed to just studying flat out every day, every week and having a vocabulary overload.

ABV: every volunteer is different, some want the classes this way other need time to explore, so you  just need to talk to the teacher and customize the lessons as each volunteer wants.

6- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
The ABV program definitely lived up to my expectations. I felt like I was able to help and have the impact that I wanted to.

7- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e: host family, on-site, shared)
Everything about the accommodations was perfect. The food was great, local food, the family was welcoming and fun, and I definitely felt safe in location.

8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
My favorite memory of the trip was seeing all of the kids I work with on the day that we celebrated Quito. They were all there with their parent(s) who were participating in all of the activities with them. All of the kids got their moment in the spotlight when they got to parade around the room one by one in their costumes and feel special. The joy on their faces was incredible, I don’t think there was another moment from this entire trip when I felt more truly happy.

9.- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
ABV Canada support was great before I left. They were quick to respond and thoroughly answered all of my questions.

10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers
Yes, I would be willing to speak to other ABV volunteers.

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