Welcome to the Yanapuma Foundation “Sustainable Community Development in Ecuador”. This is a non-governmental organization is working together with local and international partners to bring about lasting change for the marginalized and indigenous people of Ecuador. And this is the reason why I came to Ecuador, to be part of a bigger project. To be the change I want to see in the world, as Mahatma Gandhi would say…
All the projects Yanapuma works with form components of the integrated approach, which focuses on the interconnectedness of the social and environmental reality affecting rural indigenous and marginalized Ecuadorian communities. The aim is always to work to create and maintain active partnerships between Yanapuma, its funders, and the communities that they serve. I will be mainly working around 3 of their projects whilst traveling with groups: the Tsachila, Chilcapamba and Hacienda Tranquila.
My position in the company as an intern is “VOLUNTEER GROUP LEADER FOR COMMUNITIES IN ECUADOR” because one important resource for the foundation are international volunteers and groups for short or long term periods (1 week to 6 months) to assist the communities with their goals. Yanapuma receives the groups of volunteers a number of times a year, and for this reason, they need people who are willing and able to motivate, manage and lead these groups of 10 to 15 volunteers in different locations around Ecuador. In the communities volunteer work will be done in construction, education, environment, and other areas.
My responsabilities will be:
– Learn about the local culture and previous projects in the different communities
– Prepare for the group’s arrival by setting up accommodation, food, transport, project work, and budget. This might include visiting the local community where the project is to organize with them the details of the work and accommodation
– Greet the group upon arrival and be their leader throughout their time with Yanapuma in Ecuador. This includes traveling with the group to coordinate and oversee their transport, project work, and additional activities.
– Introduce the group members to the community and vice versa
– Coordinate daily activities with the contact person in the community
– Explain the norms of living and working in a community to the volunteers and make sure they are being implemented
– Motivate and support the volunteers with their daily activities
– Organize activities during free time and weekends in coordination with the community
– Participate with the volunteer work
– Oversee the health and wellbeing of the group during their time with Yanapuma
– Be the point-of-contact between the group and the Yanapuma office in case of problems or concerns
– Maintain email communication with the contact person in the group (teacher, representative) to organize the logistics and project
My group will arrive the 1st of April 2014. Most group members will be aged 18-21 years old, and coming from the United Kingdom through a travel agency that offers gap year programs. They will stay for 10 weeks, until the 9th of June.
But for now I am working in the office preparing their trip together with Cristina Lopez, the volunteer and intern coordinator of Yanapuma.
Also, I obviously need time to get used to the country and its culture ànd to the company. Therefore, I am staying one month in a host family. And until now I can say that I feel really blessed them around me because they have helped me a lot during my first days. They care about me as if I were their own hija (child) and I don’t know what I would do without them. Gracias Ana Maria y Francisco!!!
I have no idea how I will manage to become a real GROUP LEADER in one month, but there is no way back. Only forward… So I’ll keep my head up high, hoping for the best! I can do this!!!
By the way: I already have a small idea of my 10 week itinerary but I’m not telling you yet… Surprise for the next blog post?!