has come and gone and with it our wonderful group of short-term volunteers from
Vanderbilt University. As I mentioned in my last post, the fall break group was
here to help out in the Environmental Health Program by constructing a plastic
bottle greenhouse on the roof of the library. The idea for a plastic bottle
greenhouse “sprouted” from our new recycling program in the library. As community members continued to donate
plastic bottles, we wanted to demonstrate other ways in which recyclable
materials such as plastic bottles can be reused instead of tossed in the trash.
Once the group arrived the greenhouse went up quickly, with only a few minor
bumps in the road. By Saturday it was complete with planting boxes and a new
composting bin, for the scrapes let over from Adult Cooking and Nutrition. After our holiday break we will have a
planting party to show off the greenhouse to our community and get some herbs
and vegetables in the ground for our cooking classes!
Check out these photos of their hard work and fun adventures here in Quito and the Valley:
|Our wonderful Vanderbilt group (plus their awesome leaders) |
|Our Vandy group leaders, Lauren and Roo, at the Bascilica |
|Group at the top of the Teleferico|
|Sorting bottles |
|Making the compost bin |
|The FINISHED product! |
While the group was here they also helped out in other
various Manna programs! Many enjoyed getting involved in our other education
programs, such as teaching English and nutrition. Here is an account from
volunteer Lauren Pak about her participation in various Manna programs as well
as work with partner organizations like ESPE:
"As Manna’s Thanksgiving Service Participants, we had the
unique opportunity to participate in a variety of community development
programs. We were excited to get
involved in various education programs, specifically nutrition and English
literacy. Here are some of our collective experiences:
only were the kids a joy to work with, it was a wonderful experience to
interact with small children.
Since some individuals didn’t know how to speak Spanish, it was lovely
to see how communication and interactions can occur through physical touch as
found with the preschoolers.
Language learning starts and is the most effective at a young age. A good foundation is necessary for any
kind of learning, and it was wonderful to see how Manna was working to build a
strong starting point for the future.
It was interesting to see hear from the preschool teacher as well that
some kids didn’t know their colors in Spanish but knew the vocabulary words in
English. As shown, primary
education has an enormous impact in child development.
|Some of the vols spending time at the local pre-school |
Elementary: The elementary school was an eye-opening
experience. The children were very
sweet. They all clapped and were
so excited to see new faces. A sad
realization was the fact that these classrooms were overpopulated and that
there was a disparity between the learning levels of the children. The problem lies in the fact that there
are no extra classes to help those either being left behind in their academics
or programs for those who are needing more stimulation.
|Helping out in nutrition class |
University: Since we are college students ourselves, it was
interesting to see the community dynamics of the local Ecuadorian university
and how it was similar and different from our own experience in the United
States. It was humbling to see
with how much tenacity the students worked to learn English. Some students were in their early 30s
and came back to school to learn, others were married to native English
speakers and wanted to learn how to communicate more effectively, and others
had dreams of starting their own company in the United States and were hoping
to cultivate heir English skills.
Overall, it was inspiring to see how motivated these students were to
learn English in order achieve success."
|Headed to ESPE, the local university, to chat with English students |