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.
Jo and I had a rough time getting up so early this morning because we returned late last night, but we made it to the daycare and perked up once we spent some time with the kids. Today, however, there were four children who cried almost the entire time. I felt bad, but I knew that I couldn’t really stop them from crying because they just wanted their parents. I tried to keep them distracted, though, and the teachers had a few activities planned that helped keep them from crying. When we got home from the daycare, we both ate lunch and took very long naps because we didn’t have anything planned for the rest of the day. At dinner, we had nice conversations with our host mom; we stayed at the table and chatted for almost an hour after we finished eating!
Today, Jo and I both woke up feeling sick again. I think my sickness is a combination of traveling this weekend, not sleeping enough, and catching a cold from being around kids. My host mom told us to rest today so that we wouldn’t get the children sick, and she made us chamomile tea. We slept all day, and when I woke up again in the late afternoon, I was feeling much better. Jo still wasn’t feeling great, but she took some medicine that will hopefully help. Our host mom made us chicken soup for dinner, and she is going to make us more tea before we go to bed; I’m so grateful to be living with her this month! She has been immensely thoughtful and hospitable to Jo and me.
I woke up feeling much better this morning; I still definitely have a cold, but it’s nothing too serious. Jo, however, still feels very sick. We both went to work because she talked to her mom, who is a nurse, and she said that it was just a traveler’s sickness and she would not infect the kids. When I got there, the kids ran up to hug me per usual. It never fails to make me smile, and I’m happy that I can now greet most of them by name. Granted, I learned most of their names from hearing the teacher scold them so many times, but what else can you expect from three-year-olds! I spent a lot of the time cutting out various pieces for a craft that we’re going to be doing with them next week, and they played with some toys for the majority of the time that I was there. The rest of the day, Jo and I stayed in bed and watched movies in Spanish.
Today at the daycare, we did a fun craft involving colored dough. The kids were working on their coordination skills by rolling the dough into colored balls and putting it onto pieces of paper. It was cute to see them work so hard on this project, and of course, I loved telling them how great it looked whenever I heard, “Mira!”. After volunteering, Jo and I went to a travel agency to plan our trip to the jungle this weekend!
This morning I helped mainly with the crafts as opposed to helping with the kids. They had TV time for about forty minutes, and so one of the other teachers asked if Johanne and I could help with a few drawings that they needed done. The first one was a large poster of a bear, and we didn’t really know what to do, but I think it turned out well. The second thing was a coloring sheet for the kids. The teacher asked me to copy a picture of some ducks, and I actually had a lot of fun doing that. She copied the sheet so that the kids could all color it together!
After work, Johanne and I booked our trip to the Amazon. We have been working an extra 45 minutes or hour every day in order to prepare to miss two days of work, but the daycare was very flexible. After a few setbacks, we’re finally packing and preparing to go at 9 pm. I can’t wait to share my adventures in the Amazon!