Volunteer Ecuador: This trip was incredible and I don’t regret coming for a second. Our trip was a month long and I think that is a perfect amount of time for first time travelers. Changing sheets, cleaning the bed frames, and washing patients will most likely take up all your time.
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country?
The staff and support in country exceeded expectations. As soon as we arrived we were given a warm welcome and it seemed like they were genuinely happy to have us visiting. We were given multiple contacts of people in case of emergency, and the staff kept in touch during my entire stay to make sure everything was okay.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Program: I was surprised by how pleasant everyone was, even with the language barrier at work my coworkers did their best to help me fit in. I was also shocked my the number of patients in the hospital every day. Being a public hospital, had hundreds of people needing help even before we started working (7:30am). It was sad to see so many people in need, but you felt better knowing you were trying your best to help.
Host Family: I think my host family was the biggest surprise. I can’t say enough positive things about my host Mom, we got incredibly lucky. She was so welcoming, and cooked us great food three times each day. Her children were friendly and awesome to talk with too.
Country: I was mostly surprised by how huge Ecuador/Quito is. I thought I’d be able to see most of the city but I was wrong, it’s tremendous. I also underestimated how much traveling I was going to do, which was by far the best part of the trip. I can easily say that the places I’ve seen in Ecuador are the most beautiful places I’ve been to thus far in my life.
3- What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Program: The language barrier was by far the most challenging thing to overcome at work, after 4 weeks I still find my self struggling to communicate with the staff at the hospital.
Host Family: the living conditions at home took some time getting used to, like the bed and the shower, but other than that there weren’t many things challenging about Janet and her Family.
the biggest thing to overcome in my point of view is constantly worrying about the water you’re drinking and the food you’re eating. You don’t want to get sick in a foreign country, so being on your toes at all times gets tiring.
ABV: from all our volunteers no one has been sick by eating at our host families. Always drink bottle water and if you eat in restaurants only do at well known and good review locations, never from street vendors.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
Bring your smartphone, computer, or tablet, try to write in a journal every day, bring water-proof clothing and shoes/boots, travel, try every single fruit you can (everything is delicious).
5. Other things volunteers should know before coming here:
If you’re volunteering at the hospital ABV says you need a bunch of medical equipment which is not accurate, unfortunately it will just be a waste of money. Also if you’re working at the hospital, no matter what the website says, you NEED WHITE pants and a WHITE top.
ABV: Our website asks for supplies as many hospitals and clinics need many supplies, our website is as general as possible as we work with dozens of medical locations and they are all different. But the White pants and white tops and white sneakers are described in the website and volunteer guide.
6- Personal Paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial):
This trip was incredible and I don’t regret coming for a second. Our trip was a month long and I think that is a perfect amount of time for first time travelers. Changing sheets, cleaning the bed frames, and washing patients will most likely take up all your time. Instead of shadowing doctors and nurses, we mostly worked with the nurse assistants.
ABV: volunteers needs to be proactive, jump in and ask to help with any tasks, dont expect a schedule of shadowing one on one doctors or nurses, you need to ask to help in all the areas of the hospital or clinic, also you need to talk with your supervisor, local coordinator if you are not getting the exposure you want, also you can always email ABV US to have us inform of any change you want.
7- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
The accommodations were better than expected, clean and comfortable. The meals were also great, very convenient and prepared well. I felt safe, the only setting where I felt I needed to be careful was walking around at night. And everyone I’ve met was extremely nice, some of the most pleasant people I know.
ABV: we have a curfew so volunteer shouldn’t be walking around at night and take a cab home if you are late.
8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
Program: the best part of the program was actually shadowing doctors the last 2 days in the emergency section of the hospital.
Host Family: Eating meals together, talking about our days, and laughing with each other was a highlight every day.
Country: Traveling to the jungle and baños we’re equally incredible. I’m extremely happy I went to both places and would go back in a heartbeat
9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling? (who helped you, emails, phone calls, chat online, how fast did you got an answer, did you got all your answers)
ABV support prior to travel was exceptional in every way possible.
9.1- What do you think about the reservation system online?
Reservations and setting up the trip was also easy and clear.
9.2- Who did you find Abroaderview website (keywords, search engine, word mouth to mouth, recommended by .., other)
I found out about the program by my Aunt, who heard about it from a friend.