We live in a community center not too far from Patate’s Plaza Central. There are bathrooms and showers, a kitchen and comedor, communal space, and a bunk bed awaiting each person.
Our service projects take place five days a week and usually end by mid-afternoon. Most days you get to choose your worksite from a range of physical work and some social projects. Once a week, you will be on “homebase crew” with a few other participants and a leader. The crew makes breakfast and lunch, goes to the town’s marketplaces to buy food for the next meals, drop off laundry, helps our dinner cook with preparations, and simply enjoys a “day in the life.”
Afternoons after work tend toward cultural activities and nearby excursions. It’s time to get to know our neighbors, visit mountain farms, play games with local kids, participate in several artisan workshops, practice Spanish, and sometimes just have a break before dinner.
As with all VISIONS programs, we work hard and we also play hard in Ecuador. In addition to afternoon activities, some days are for travel and full-day excursions.
Meals include Ecuadorian and American cuisine, and always with enough for seconds. Vegetarian and meat options are always available, and there are healthy snacks available during the day. A few nights a week after dinner, we meet as a group to talk through the volunteer and immersion experience.
VISIONS is not a teen tour with a day-to-day travel itinerary. Instead we settle in to our home base and are part of daily life. The itinerary provides some of the highlights of our time in Ecuador.