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We are so excited to welcome our twenty-nine volunteers to the first-ever Cuenca, Ecuador summer project!

The volunteers were received by a warm, humid embrace as they arrived in Guayaquil late Tuesday night. The international flight failed to dampen their spirits. Despite a late night, the volunteers were up early the next morning to catch the bus to Cuenca. The four-hour bus trip was used to take naps, start on friendship bracelets, and admire the breath-taking views as the bus climbed the Andes to Cuenca.

Upon their arrival to Cuenca, volunteers dropped their bags at the hostel and were shepherded to Amauta Spanish School, the site for briefing and where volunteers will be taking Spanish classes. Briefing was filled with projected-related talks, leadership activities, and fun activities! The volunteers received a tour of Cuenca, where they had the opportunity to explore the beautiful Catedral Nueva and the Museo de Sombreros. The volunteers also received a presentation from Elizabeth and Dante, representatives from one of our partner agencies, Pakariñan.

In addition to the packed briefing schedule, the volunteers began taking Spanish classes in the morning. All of the teachers at Amauta are thrilled to get to know the volunteers and teach them about Ecuadorian culture.

On the final day of briefing, the project supervisors organized an elaborate route reveal, in which all of the volunteers received their assigned partners and host families. The route reveal was followed by host family drop-offs. Volunteers trekked all across the city with project staff, maneuvering public buses, scaling steep inclines, and lugging their backpacks with grace and confidence. All volunteers arrived safely to their host families!

Now the fun begins! The volunteers are enthused to embark on their AMIGOS experiences and we cannot wait to share on their behalf.

Lucia Hruby
Project Supervisor