1- How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?
Laura was amazing. There are no other words to describe my experience with her and her family. I become a part of the family, and they supported me and treated me like their own.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
The most surprising thing I experienced was the passion and love the kids showed me. In the states kids are not as welcoming as they are here.
3- What was most difficult to experience?
The most difficult thing to experience was the language barrier and the constant stares. I stand out because I am very tall. This attracts everyone, male or female. It took some getting used to, but once I moved past it, I was comfortable. The language barrier was also a struggle not only with everyday people, but even with my students.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
Future tip: If you do not know much Spanish, take spanish lessons. Everyone here is welcoming to Spanish learners.
If you come to Quito, please bring a tub of peanut butter for Laura (the coordinator). She deserves/loves it, and she will love you even more.
Bring warm clothes, jeans, and at least one nice outfit if you are working in a school. I only brought legging type pants, and greatly regret it. There were times I would teach a class, and I would feel “bummy” compared to the students in uniform.
5.1-Other things volunteers should know:
a. Don't be afraid to ask questions
b. Explore on weekends! You will regret it if you stay home.
c. NEVER carry anything expensive.
d. Buy a waist wallet, or keep your valuables in your bra.
6- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
The ability to volunteer here in Quito has changed my life. I have immersed myself into a culture I have come to know and love. I have created unbreakable bonds here in Quito, and I am sad to be leaving. These past weeks at the school have been mesmerizing; sadly, school was about to be dismissed for summer, but the school utilized me in any way they could. I was put under the wing of an English teacher, and he showed me many tricks that I will use in my future teaching career. I was able to tutor kids, learn some Spanish myself, and interact with coworkers who were happy to have me and I felt that I was making a difference.
7- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e: host family, on-site, shared)
Accommodation was amazing. I had my own room, and privacy was not a problem. My schedule permitted me to eat all three meals at the house, and man, am I thankful. The cooking between Lily and Laura are amazing. I have learned some recipes I will be using at home! Security at the apartment complex was amazing, the security guards on staff are extremely nice.
8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
I have three favorite memories. My first is when another ABV volunteer and I went to Latacunga for the weekend and went to Quilotoa. This volcano is spectacular. The kayaking in the lagoon was amazing, and I will never forget what it felt like to kayak in an active volcano. My second favorite memory is watching my students perform in their final ceremony of the school year. The children were all in different outfits, and they were adorable to watch. My third favorite memory is when two other ABV volunteers and I went out for Salsa dancing. I sat there watching everyone around me forget the world and just feel the music. There is nothing better than to forget your worries and feel the music. Quito has been amazing to me, and I feel extremely blessed to have had to opportunity to make a difference.
9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
I had support from Sarah. She was great.
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? Absolutely!