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The AMIGOS Project Staff Team is so excited to have their volunteers here in country and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish during the project! Here are some highlights from the week:

The volunteers arrived in Guayaquil late at night on Tuesday and received a warm, humid welcome to Ecuador. That same night they got their first taste of Ecuadorian culture in the form of chifles (plantain chips) on their bus ride to the hotel. After a night’s rest in Guayaquil, they were promptly on their way to Santa Elena, and more specifically to Salinas, the site of our briefing!

Salinas is a beautiful coastal city right on the water, where the volunteers got the opportunity to explore and take in the views (no swimming though!). Briefing was full of activities, laughs, fun, food, people, and of course more activities. There are lots of new faces and we have a very dynamic, diverse group here in Santa Elena. We have representation from chapters all around the United States including Kansas City, the Bay Area, Tucson, Austin, and even Ecuadorian volunteers from Cotopaxi and Cuenca. Volunteers are already acclimating to the climate, the food, the culture and the amazingly friendly people of Ecuador. The Ecuadorian volunteers are learning about American culture as well. One of my favorite questions being, “why do they all like playing card games so much?”

After three full days of briefing, the day finally arrived for the Bienvenida, or the welcome party for host families to meet their volunteers. It was a wonderful day with balloons, music, a heartfelt speech from our Project Director, and many more festivities which were all capped off with a delicious ceviche. After the participants got all their things in order, they were accompanied to their host communities.

Now, the real fun begins! Volunteers are excited to begin their AMIGOS experience and can’t wait to let you all know more!

Patrick Hwang

Project Supervisor

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