What was your favorite memory of this trip?
All the experience was extremely gratifying and enjoyable. I spend a week in the highlands of Ecuador in a very small and rustic town called Sumo, where I was able to perform medical examination of 240 children in an elementary school and pick up undetected significant medical problems and canalize those children for further medical care through the Organization.
I also had the opportunity to check another 120 children in a day care preschool center and in a preschool for disabled children.
What was the most difficult thing you experienced?
I didn’t experienced any problems at all probably because my deep knowledge of the Spanish Language and the Hispanic culture. I felt all the time secure and at home.
What was the one thing you wished you were better prepared for?
I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do. Next time, I intent to bring educational materials for the school children and prepare myself better to take care of the children in areas like malnutrition and tropical diseases.
ABV: Programs can change from week to week so one has to jump in and make the best out of it and help the local staff as much as you did. Any tips for future volunteers…
Plan to stay for at least 4 weeks if you really want to get a flavor and feel productive about your volunteer work and the country of Ecuador. Shorter visits are not conductive to have a real experience. ABV had several volunteers from Germany, Switzerland and Norway that stay for longer periods of time (8-12 weeks) and were able to learn to speak Spanish fluently. Use your weekends to visit places out of Quito. It is a beautiful country.
How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA?
It was nice and polite and like it. However didn’t hear from you while I was in Ecuador. You must establish contact with your volunteers via e-mail while they are abroad. It will help to improve the impression that people have about your program.
ABV: We send an email 3 days from the date of arrival to all our volunteers (we in average 50 volunteers at all times in our 22 countries) and we contact the local coordinator each week and get a report of how the volunteers are doing and if they need any assistance from us, and our lines are open if a volunteer needs to contact us for any reason.
How was the local ABV Director and the support provided in-country?
Laura and her family (husband Vicente and children Mateo and Allison) were very friendly and gracious. Laura takes very seriously her work as a local coordinator of the volunteer organization. She cares about the safety and health of her volunteers. I became very friendly with the Host Family and feel that they are part of my family.
Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
Do it, get involved. It will be an experience that you will remember and be glad that you did it.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?