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Just a bunch of people that got together and blog about travel...

Social volunteering in Ecuador

by <a href='' class='captionLink'>Marjon Daemen</a>
by Marjon Daemen

A few years ago, I embarked on an adventure to Ecuador. This was not just my first time traveling solo but also my first timing working on a volunteering project abroad. I worked in a day care centre for less fortunate children in a very rough neighborhood in Quito, Ecuador's capital.

To be honest, I was kind of dreading working with poor kids from a very tough neighborhood in Quito. I thought they would misbehave and be too much to handle, but boy did they prove me wrong. They had better manners than most of the Belgian kids I know! Every morning when I walked into the classroom all of these Ecuadorian cuties greeted me with an enthusiastic hug. And every time I helped them with something, they would say 'Gracias Marjon', ever so politely. As you can tell, my initial dreading immediately went away and I was delighted to work with these tiny toddlers.

Not a single day was ever boring because each day we would do different activities: reading, arts and crafts, cooking, playing games or watching a movie together. Besides that I helped with their homework. One time me and another Belgian volunteer baked some good old Belgian crepes for all of the day care kids, which was a blast because they were so grateful, stuffing their faces with one crepe after the other.

But it wasn't all fun and games. I would tend to forget the poor families these children live in, until some kid would confide in me and tell me her dad got shot in a gang fight or another would tell me she missed her dad who had been in jail for years. I was very moved by their stories and admired them for being such well-behaved sweet kids.

That's why I loved the day centre, a kind of safe haven where the kids can forget their troubles and just be a kid, playing games and doing some arts and crafts. This might all sound cliché, but volunteering in a place like that really does put things in perspective and makes you think about things a little more. So, I would recommend anyone to volunteer in a social project, just do it!

by <a href='' class='captionLink'>Marjon Daemen</a>
by Marjon Daemen