It was a busy week in Ecuador: we had not one, but TWO incredible spring break groups on site participating in programs, revamping the community center and more. We love hosting short-term volunteers on site during the spring and fall. Visiting teams give us a fresh perspective on programs as well as provide the time and manpower to complete innovative and fun projects. But the best part about welcoming visiting teams is watching them grow through the opportunity to use their passions and talents to give back to underserved communities in Latin America.
Students from Vanderbilt planned and participated in health and wellness projects. They also lent a helping hand painting the kitchen in the community center, building desks for our education programs, and making a beautiful mural at a preschool in Fajardo, a nearby school district.
While Program Directors were occupied teaching English on Saturday morning, the Vanderbilt team also surprised us with an incredible mural, the first thing community members will see when they enter the community center. We finished out the week with a beautiful and relaxing hike at Molinuco, a nearby ecological refuge with a series of stunning waterfalls.
The University of Georgia
Students from the University of Georgia worked on projects for teenagers in our community. They got to know the students by hosting a teen center movie night and carnival day, and also conducting a spelling bee with English students at Chaupitena, a local primary school where Program Directors teach English.
They also left their mark on the teen center by giving it a fresh coat of paint! After a long week of hard work, UGA students headed to Quito to visit the equator, tour the Ecuador historical center, and enjoy some wonderful Ecuadorian food!
Our incredible community members
A highlight of the trip for both groups was dinner in the home of some of our incredible community members. We were so touched by their hospitality (and cooking skills!), and they were excited to get the chance to know our amazing and dedicated spring break volunteers. Manna Project wouldn't be where it is today without the support and participation of our dedicated community members!