Next stop...Ecuador!

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Say hey to Elena, our fantastic Global Travel Intern. She's been all over the globe participating in BUNAC programmes and blogging as she goes. In case you were in doubt, this is a dream job for any wanderlust wanderer. Her stops have included the USA, Canada (with a spectacular trip to the Grand Canyon which she'll remember for a lifetime) and now Ecuador, with non-stop adventure commencing with every destination. In this blog, Elena describes her day to day itinerary whilst getting involved on our enriching Volunteer Ecuador programme

After a week bouncing from one American landmark to another, I found myself in the colourful capital of Quito, Ecuador. The purpose of my trip was to meet the other volunteers who would be taking part in a community project that focussed on helping a small village establish a system to transport clean water. We all stayed in a local hostel, named Quito, and it was kind of like a South American playground where we got aquatinted before heading off to explore.

The next day, a three hour bus ride and a windswept ride on a pick up truck landed us in the village of Chilcapamba, where we would be staying for the duration of the trip. As we made our way towards the house, two huge volcanoes dominated the skyline with their peaks covered by low lying clouds. The dusty road was a welcome change to the city and the people of the village were unfalteringly welcoming.

Don't just imagine...

After having a day to settle in, we were ready to begin work on the project which meant a half day of filling in a trench left by the last group who had begun laying pipes. The work was tough and dirty but rewarding when we saw the progress we were making. The next day was much the same but digging instead which proved to be a tougher task as the trenches got deeper. Following work and lunch we attended Spanish classes each day to improve, or in my case begin, our Spanish skills. 

One morning we were informed that we would be visiting a nearby city to see their one hundred year celebration parade. Having gotten used to village life, we expected a small celebration and were shocked to see hundreds of locals lining the streets to spectate a culmination of flags, cheerleaders and marching bands. The leader of the village was so happy to have us that he invited us to join the parade with a banner displaying that we were the volunteers of Chilcapamba and were suddenly being cheered by locals and officials in the city. It was a bizarre and wonderful experience but conveys the overwhelming welcoming attitude of Ecuadorian life.

At the weekend we went to see the crater lake of Cuicocha which is a lake formed in the crater of a large volcano. The lake was stunning and we were able to hike around the perimeter and see it in its full glory with its two green mounds protruding from the petrol blue water. We also visited nearby town of Otavalo where we spent the day exploring the huge street market and and buying Ecuadorian gifts that ranged from painted feathers to wood carved pipes.

This was such an amazing project to be involved in as you get to go on an incredible travel adventure whilst making a contribution to the places you call home. So, if you think you could get used to being woken by sounds of cockerels and lulled to sleep by the croaks of bullfrogs, then don't hesitate to go on BUNAC's Multi Project Volunteering in Ecuador.

Your turn

Gain a new perspective of the world and the different cultures in it (like beautiful Ecuador) by volunteering in a wonderful community project like Elena. Do something amazing this year, and be the inspiration in someone's life from across the globe. Trust us, this experience is priceless.

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