Audrey O'Connell is one of Spirit's 2017 Volunteer Abroad Ambassador Scholarship winners. She is volunteering at a child-care center in Quito, Ecuador for four weeks through our partner in Ecuador, Fundación Bolivar Education.
This morning, the children were just as excited to see me, and many of them came up to hug me even though I just started a few days ago. I think they are all eager to have someone else to play with; many of them huddle around me with questions about their puzzles or other games. After breakfast, the kids played with plastic toys similar to Legos, but they were shaped like snowflakes. You can join them together to make any sort of shape, but most of them kept busy by making a long chain. I noticed that one little girl was quiet the entire time, and she seemed to be enamored in whatever she was doing. After about thirty minutes, she quietly said, “Mira, una bicicleta! (Look, a bicycle!)”. She built a tiny bike from the toys, and the resemblance was astounding, considering it was made out of little plastic pieces. It was adorable to see her so proud of her creation, and all the other children admired it as well. Later at lunch, one of the girls fell asleep right at the table which made me laugh.
For our craft today, we demonstrated the difference between “grande” and “pequeno” by gluing a big house and a little house onto a piece of paper. It is amazing how long it takes to get everything organized with twenty three-year-olds who don’t quite know how to follow directions yet. After we set up the supplies for each of them, we realized that giving them glue was not a good idea because they were spreading it all over the floor instead of their papers. After we took the glue away from them, the other teachers and I helped each individual student put the glue on the houses. There were four of us today (and 24 kids), and even that was a lot. I know there are some classes with only one teacher, so I can see why they need volunteers. The work is tiring because you have to constantly be watching every student, but they are so cute that it does not even feel like work. More and more kids have been asking me what my name is, and I think it’s the cutest thing hearing them say, “Audrey!”.
Today was a fun day of volunteering because the kids are starting to remember my name, and they always want to play with me! We colored a worksheet with lions on it for most of the time. They were all proud of their work; I loved hearing, “Audrey, mira! (Audrey, look!)” when they finished the project. Now, I’m headed to Banos for the weekend with my friends Johanne and Bella!