Last summer I volunteered at Basted Clinic in Quito, Ecuador for three weeks. I worked at the medical and social/behavioral health center with Dr. Andres Andrade. I supervised and taught his child-aged patients who had issues with drug & alcohol, ADHD, autism, and speech impediments. In my role, I monitored and supported the learning of groups of children while myself learning about the language and culture.
I spoke with the volunteer coordinator frequently up to my departure date. I had decided to do a program relatively last minute and she was very helpful, organized, and timely. She quickly was able to coordinate an opportunity for me. I was given a travel guide that explained some history, background information, what to expect, dos and dont's, and any other useful information. That guide was extremely helpful and prepared me for my trip.
Upon arrival to Ecuador, everything ran smoothly and my host family was very warm and receptive. There were other volunteers also housed there, which was great since we would often explore the city together in our spare time. Quito is a beautiful city with lots to offer. Many volunteers spent weekends traveling to the Galapagos islands, Baños, or other tourist attractions. My favorite part of the day was the commute back and forth. I took the bus around 1.5 hours each way to the clinic and I was able to see so much of Quito from the north to the south. My days at the clinic were flexible and I greatly enjoyed working with the children everyday. Everyone I interacted with was very welcoming. I also had another partner/intern to help me adjust and carry out my tasks. Overall, I learned a lot about the culture, customs, language all while helping the clinic.
What would you improve about this program?
The pace of life in Ecuador is much different than what we are accustomed to in the United States. Some of the spare time I had during my volunteering could have been better maximized. If you are not planning on taking Spanish classes during your stay, I would highly recommend studying beforehand.