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Real Gap - Volunteering in Ecuador and Peru

Real Gap - Volunteer in Ecuador and Peru

Ian Richardson volunteered to work with street children in Ecuador and Peru.

Name: Ian Richardson

Nationality: British

Countries Volunteered in: Ecuador and Peru

Projects Volunteered on: Street Children in Quito and Young Offenders Project in Peru

Why did he choose these programmes:
Ian chose South America to go somewhere different. He was keen to learn something new, with Spanish being the perfect addition to his plans. He also wanted to help those less fortunate, where he could really make a difference.

Street Children Volunteer Project – Quito, Ecuador

To all potential volunteers,

It’s a heart-breaking job but the kids are wonderful.... (Well most of them) They all have psychological problems, malnutrition but they just want to be loved... they are so affectionate it is untrue.... The centre is like a drop in centre and caters for about 25 children of all ages...

They are all wonderful but its hard not to have favourites... There are two 16-year-old lads there that took to me straight away and every afternoon I help them with their homework, sit and chat for an hour, which really helps me with my Spanish....

They both have homes but have to support their families... their day starts at 5 am when they go off to work until 2pm.... they then come to the centre for a quite place to study before going to school at 630 till 1030pm. Getting home about 1130pm. They both support their mothers and 3 brothers. Such great lads and work so hard you really have to respect them...

All the kids have a story to tell and I guess they’re the lucky ones because they have a roof over their head’s at night.... However, they constantly fight with each other, especially if I give one more attention than another, which is difficult.... Its very rewarding work but really pulls at your heartstrings....

I feel like I’ve made some good friends there with some of the older kids and its hard not to spoil them... Took two to KFC after the centre closed for a hot meal on Thursday and you’d have thought id given them a pot of gold, from the look on their faces....

Once work has finished I walk home with the other volunteers and I get home just after 7.... ABSOLUTELY knackered!

It’s now Saturday and after work yesterday, 5 of the students and I from school took a coach 4 hours south of Quito to a place called Banos... Its in the Andes and is famous for its hot springs, oh yes and another volcano which hasn’t erupted since 1999.... So fingers crossed that wont change while I’m here....

Today we hired bikes and rode 25km down the valley, following the Rio Verde.... stopping and hiking down the valley to view some spectacular waterfalls... was a tiring day but well worth it... Luckily at the last waterfall there were people with trucks who bring you and your bikes back up to Banos.... thankfully otherwise it would be an absolute killer.

Weather here today has been boiling and really caught the sun.... Off out tonight because its quite a lively place, full of backpackers from all over the world...

Tomorrow we’re off on horse back up the volcano..... so that should be fun with a hangover.... returning to Quito tomorrow night in time to start school and work again on Monday! The time is flying by I have to say.

Volunteering has been the highlight of my trip! The work was rewarding and challenging at the same time! You learn that it’s impossible to help the world with its problems but doing a little bit for a few has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far!

I’m sure volunteering isn’t for everyone and it could be quite depressing when you thought about the poor kids in Ecuador sleeping rough at night, but giving them attention and love where their parents don’t and watching them react in good ways made it all worth while!

Got to go as cerveza (beer) is calling....