Cultural Exchange Volunteer Program
Volunteer for up to a month or longer
We offer the opportunity for volunteers to come and live and work with families in various communities in rural Ecuador. You can choose from: the county of
(principal town Tabacundo) in the northern Andes, the region in the sub-tropical western Andes, or the community of in the central south Andes These longer programs, usually a month, are designed for flexibility.
For example, a week can be spent at our hacienda in Picalquí (the same as the ) followed by time living and working in a community. You will live with a campesino family in their house, one volunteer (or couple if requested) per family, so that more is learnt and faster.
The emphasis for this home stay is the exchange of culture and customs between the volunteer, the family, and also the community members.
We therefore request that volunteers try to have a conversational level of Spanish as communication is an essential part of this experience, and approach the culture with an open mind. Please note we can organise to help increase your spanish language ability.
Volunteers will follow the daily routine of their host family, getting up when they do and passing the day together on the land or in the community. Through conversation and practical experience volunteers will live and learn about the traditions and daily lives of these campesino families.
There may also be opportunities during the stay to work with other families and "comuneros" on a wider variety of activities. This allows greater experience of daily life and for further integration into the community.
Through our contacts we can organize programs specific to volunteers' requirements:
eg: , , construction, forestation, local development, environmental education.
Typically, whilst living in the communities, volunteers will be able to :
· Work on the land: prepare seed beds, sow, weed, water, and plant
· Harvest the local fruit and vegetable for meals
· Manage the farm animals (normally chickens, pigs, cows, sheep and guinea pigs)
· Participate in mingas (community work)
· Work in the community tree nursery (depending on the community)
· Reforest micro-valleys with native plant species (depending on time of year and community)
· Help out or teach in the education centres and schools
· Visit local markets and perhaps buy or sell a farm animal
· Any construction that may need doing (eg fixing roofs, making fences, animal pens)
· Visit neighbouring communities
· Play ecuavolley or football in the evenings
· And of course, practice Spanish
Naturally this list of activities isn't definitive. As the campesinos generally have large extended families, it is highly likely that you will participate in some celebration, whether birthday or baptism!
Equally, you will participate in any local cultural fiesta that coincides with your stay.
Through project work and careful selection, we work with over a dozen communities and around 35 families, each of which is unique and has their own rhythm of life. It is our job to place you with the right family to meet your objectives for our programs.
The four communities are very different in terms of climate, agriculture, culture and tradition. Therefore please be sure of the area you wish to stay in (see further information to learn more about the different ) and be sure to read the pages for details of the development work undertaken in the different areas.
**Please note, for those wishing to take before going to live in a community, we can arrange them for you during your week at the hacienda.
To contact former volunteers and learn about their experiences please follow the link to the