Cuenca, Ecuador Gap Volunteer David H. shares his experience in Ecuador each month from September through November, 2019.
Since I have been in Cuenca, I’ve joined a soccer league, dressed up like a bear and danced at a festival, and tried typical Ecuadorian cuisine such as cuy (guinea pig). As exciting as these specific experiences have been, I have also enjoyed adjusting to my everyday schedule here in Cuenca. This past month, I have Spanish class every morning at Amauta school. My breakfast is usually coffee, hardboiled eggs, and fruit. After class gets out at 1pm, I meet my host mom at a restaurant for lunch before heading home. I have a few hours of free time in the afternoon, so I signed up for a martial arts class. I eat dinner with my host brothers, Cristian and Mauricio, before having the rest of the night to spend time with friends, family, or homework. My internship starts tomorrow, so some things are bound to change, however, I have enjoyed my first month in Cuenca and cannot wait to see what the next one holds.
I have started my internship and gotten into a new daily routine. I work Monday through Friday at Alianza en el Desarrollo, located above Mercado 9 de Octubre. Alianza is a place where the children of the recycling workers in Cuenca can go when they are not in classes in order to receive help on their homework, relax, and stay off the streets. Every day I work with kids aged 5–18 and provide them with lunch. I have really enjoyed my internship thus far and have just finished developing the final plans for my service project. I will be renovating the entire Alianza facility by repainting some of the walls and building shelves, tables, cabinets, and storage closets. The foundation and I hope to maximize the space Alianza has and therefore also maximize the experience of the kids there. I am super excited to get started!
This past month has been the best one yet in Ecuador. My internship has proceeded to go well with me continuing to work on my service project. I have gone grocery shopping for hours, painted an entire room twice, and built shelves, tables, and cabinets. I have built better relationships with all 70 kids and finally, remembered all of their names. I also had the opportunity to visit the city of Salinas which is on the coast of Ecuador with two friends. It was super nice to get to explore a different part of Ecuador, especially one with warm weather and a beautiful beach. My friends and I spent three days and two nights exploring the downtown area, surfing, and just taking the time to relax. I also got to spend a lot of time with my host family. I went to the zoo, parties, barbecues, and concerts. November was so amazing that I decided to extend my stay here in Cuenca and become a full year student. The opportunity to continue my internship and service project, spend more time with my host family and explore more parts of Ecuador was too enticing to pass up.
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