Lattitude volunteer Anna Stevens has now been in Ecuador for two months as part of her gap year, working with children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
What’s it like living in Ecuador?
I am living with a beautiful family in Cuenca who have welcomed me into their family as their own daughter.
We spent the first couple of weeks exploring our beautiful city and I have certainly come to love it. Around every corner is a new surprise. The architecture here is beautiful and vastly resembles that of Italy or Spain. On our first day we travelled to an area of the city called Turi which lies upon a mountain from where you can look out over the whole beautiful city. There is yet another (far more) terrifying swing that swings you out over a several hundred foot drop.
What are you doing on a day-to-day basis?
My morning placement is fantastic. I take care of a class of approximately 15 1.5-2 year olds. They are so cute! The children at Perpetuo Soccorro all come from disadvantaged families, many single parents and this nursery offers them the chance to go to work while only paying for day care on a pay what you have basis. Whilst these children obviously come from extremely poor backgrounds, it’s impossible to ignore how happy they are. Throughout the day I feed, change, play with and stop the children from killing each other or themselves.
Children at Perpetuo Soccorro
My afternoon placement is called Fundacion Mundo Nuevo which is a centre for disabled people. There are about 25 people who attend with varying severity of disabilities both mental and physical. Throughout the afternoon we work with them in several different classes to stimulate their creativity. There are 4 different classes; craft, art, music and an IT lab for those still in school to be get help with their homework. It’s a fantastic centre with so many great benefits for the people that go there.
What have you been doing in your free time?
Whilst exploring Cuenca, we’ve visited several pretty cool places like the Pumapungo Museum. Whilst a lot of the museum was closed for renovation, around the back of the building are lots of Incan ruins, as well as an aviary and beautiful gardens. We also visited a nearby spa that lies above the local thermal springs. We did all the treatments; the steam rooms, mud baths, box steamers and hot and cold pools. It was all very relaxing.
Over the last couple of weeks a few of the volunteers and I have been a part of an international tourism campaign for Cuenca and the World Travel Awards. For a couple of days we went out with a camera crew around the sights of Cuenca, we posed shamelessly and they captured us being the ultimate tourists. However we did get to visit some really beautiful places around Cuenca including the top of the cathedral that stands on the centre of the city, Cajas-the local national park as well as a trip pack to Pumapungo and just 2 days after our primary visit, a return to Piedra De Agua- the spa with the thermal springs. Then, last week we were invited to the launch press conference where we met the mayor of Cuenca and other important figures in the community.
World travel awards campaign
What’s the best part of being in Ecuador?
One of my favourite things about Cuenca, is wandering around the city centre, seeing what new things you can find, whether it’s a cute little jewellery market you haven’t seen before, some interesting architecture or an undiscovered beautiful patch of green.
Find out more about our placements in Ecuador