Volunteering in a school in Quito
I spent 8 weeks volunteering in Quito and this experience went beyond my imagination. Originally I wanted to work at the coastline in a nature conservation project but when I arrived and the project coordinator realized that I didn´t speak a word of Spanish she suggested me to rather go to Quito and work together with another German student who was teaching Spanish there. That´s how I eventually worked in a school in Quito.
My work in the school
I was living in a guest family together with other German volunteers and two volunteers from America. In total we have been eight people in the flat as the family also has two children. But it was a lot of fun to live there as we did a lot of things together like cooking. The other volunteer that has worked in the school with me taught English there. I didn´t feel comfortable to do that as my Spanish knowledge was not that sufficient.
It broke my heart to see that there´s so much to do in this school but little money to realize all the projects. I was painting all the climbing frames for the children and was installing some improvements to their outdoor gym which made them really happy. They all talked about how much better the swings work now and they do not hurt anymore now. That´s when I realized that you don´t always have to change big things to make people happy. It was so much fun to work and play with the kids event though it was very exhausting at times. The children were very open minded and willing to learn new things.
I also made an excursion to a nearby hill in the middle of Quito with them called “El Panecillo”. On this hill there´s an angel statue named “Virgin of Quito” from which you can almost totally oversee the city.
During my free time I explored Ecuador
I also did a lot of trips around Ecuador. There are so many incredible places to see. For instance half an hour away from Quito lays the equator and a very interesting museum. Plus you can reach almost every place very easily with the bus and it is a cheap way of getting around.
The buses are very different to the German buses but I got used to them quite quickly.
And if you are scared about the security then I can assure you that there´s really nothing to worry about.
I haven´t been to Guayanil so I cannot say anything about that. But in Quito you will find a lot of policemen around providing a high level of security. Still you should move around with a healthy portion of attention when it comes to your belongings - especially in the public transportation your money or camera might get stolen if you are not careful.
Ecuador really is very interesting. I enjoyed the drive to the coast as we passed through a lot of different landscapes. On the way I have seen little forests around Quito, just like in Germany. Then there was the jungle, where everything is green and finally the coastal region where its a lot hotter and less green.
I can totally recommend going to Ecuador as the country is really a sight the people are loving and the food incredibly delicious. The culture is also definitely interesting. There are marvelous malls and traditional markets. You can find those markets on almost every corner on the street. One of the most famous ones must be Otavalo.
It is important to keep in mind that almost nobody speaks English in Ecuador apart from Quito so you should definitely prepare some everyday phrases to get around!