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Week 1 with host families: Done!

Our volunteers have had a full week settling in with their host families, getting to know the city of Cuenca, and starting work with three of our wonderful partner agencies. After drop-off on Saturday afternoon, the volunteers had the rest of the weekend to bond with partners and host families before school Monday morning. Weekend fun included outdoor Zumba classes, shopping downtown, fireworks for the Corpus Christi festival, and eating some delicious cuy.

Collaboration with partner organizations is going well for all of our routes. Supervisor Kate’s route began work with the rural tourism network of the community of Sayausi, helping translate their webpage and contributing to community clean-up efforts. Supervisor Karsen’s route helped their partner organization Rafalex move into a new building, then got to work brainstorming and planning community outreach and donation drives. Supervisor Lucia’s route has been providing support for their partner agency el Asociación de Productores Agropecuarios Yanuncay and working with small-scale producers on farms surrounding Cuenca.

Back at Amauta Spanish School on Monday, the volunteers spent time in the classroom as well as on field trips with their teachers. They visited the Museo Pumapungo, where they got to explore exhibits on indigenous Ecuadorian cultures, generations of Ecuadorian currency, and Cuencan artists before wandering the ruins of the Incan city Tomebamba and the museum’s gardens and aviaries. Later in the week, the volunteers went to a local market to buy produce for a cooking project with their host families. Each set of partners were assigned traditional Ecuadorian foods to make with their families and brought them in to share for lunch on Friday.

It’s been a pleasure for Project Staff to watch the volunteers get to know the city and start collaboration with their partner agencies this week and we can’t wait to keep watching them grow!