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.
When Johanne and I were on the bus this morning, and we actually ran into two girls we met at our lodge in the Amazon! They’re volunteering at a different school near us, and we had a nice time talking to them because we hadn’t gotten a chance to talk for long on the trip. At work, the kids were as cute as always. I mainly helped with the crafts again while the children played, and it was fun to see them coming together. Also, today was Johanne’s last day, so she had to say bye to everyone which was a bit sad. We took the bus to the artisanal market near our house because Jo wanted a few last gifts that she didn’t find at Otavalo. We rushed back home so that she could finish packing, and we both had a hard time saying goodbye because we’ve gotten so close this month. She’s on her way to another trip now, and I know she’s going to have a fantastic experience.
I met up with my friend Bella from the school, and we went to the cocktail class at the school. We learned how to make three drinks, and they were all super sweet! The atmosphere was great the whole time; a bunch of people showed up, and I made some new friends! We stayed for about two and a half hours, but then we had to go home for dinner. Luisa and I walked home together, and our host mom had an amazing dinner waiting for us. After dinner, Luisa and I talked for a while and I asked her how her first week has been, and she said she’s loving it here. Later in the night, I started packing so that I wouldn’t have to do it all on Saturday.
Today was my last day of volunteering, as well as being the first day that I went alone! I am very familiar with the bus system now, so it was no problem getting there. It was sort of bittersweet because they all came up to hug me as usual, but I knew that it would be the last time that happened. It was a fun last day of volunteering, though, because at the end of each month, they have a birthday celebration for the students who had birthdays in that month. We had breakfast and playtime like normal, and the teachers and I worked more on the graduation crafts for the kids. Then, all the students came into the cafeteria, and there were tons of sweets for them. The three kids with birthdays sat at the table, and they each had a cake with a candle to blow out. Everyone got fruit, juice, and cake! It was pretty funny to watch the kids lick their plates once they finished their cake. It was a great fiesta and an awesome way to end my three weeks of volunteering!