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Last week was the volunteers’ last in Cuenca with their urban host families and marks the halfway point of our project. Volunteers Ellie and Ashley wanted to take time to reflect on their time in Ecuador so far:

Today was our last day in Cuenca and we wanted to take some time to reflect on this amazing month.

We started out at a hotel in the city center of Cuenca, Ecuador. We were briefed and got to know each other for four long days. Through name game activities and team building exercises (as well as some fun games on the roof) we all became friends. Then, we received our host family assignments, spreading out all over Cuenca and settling into our new home.

We began a daily routine of attending Spanish classes in the morning at Amauta Spanish School. We also divided into 3 route groups and after eating lunch together everyday, we attended micro projects on the outskirts of Cuenca.

Our route worked in the farming community of Barabón each afternoon, helping 5 different families with various tasks around their land. We carried lots of rocks and weeded many gardens; becoming closer as a route every day.

On the weekends, we explored Cuenca with our host families, sometimes getting to go to their stunning quintas and relax for a few hours. Many of us got to attend the different churches in Cuenca with our host families too. And of course we ate delicious Ecuadorian (and in our case, Colombian) food each day.

This past month has flown by and we can hardly believe we are leaving the city of Cuenca on Monday. Learning how to navigate public transportation, using our Spanish to talk to the community members, and fully immersing into the cuencano culture, we are sad to say goodbye to such a beautiful city. However, we separate into our rural communities with excitement on the horizon. This next month is sure to teach us a lot and fly by as quickly as the first.

Our volunteers will now be transitioning to rural communities, and we are excited to see how they grow during this next leg of the journey.

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