Annette Davis testimony on her experience with FEVI

Annette Davis – Mi Experiencia en Ecuador

annettedavis14@gmail.com   USA

December 2013 – May 2014

My experience with FEVI was unforgettable. I chose to come to Lumbisi for five months and work in the daycare with children from 3 to 5 years old. Every day I went to the daycare at 8am and left around 12:30pm when all of the kids left and the activities for the day were done. My first few weeks were a little difficult because of the language. The three teachers sometimes spoke to me very quickly and I struggled to understand. They learned to speak a bit slower to help me during the beginning weeks, which helped immensely, and whenever I misunderstood they were very kind to take a minute to explain. My goal was to become fluent in Spanish after five months, and working there was a perfect way to accomplish that because none of the teachers spoke English. The only English I ever spoke on a daily basis was to teach the children the colors, months, and days of the week, and occasionally I spoke in English with other American volunteers who came to work at the daycare for shorter lengths of time.

In my particular project working at the daycare, my daily activities always included playing, teaching, and taking care of the children. I was assigned to one classroom with 20 kids all either 4 or 5 years old. A typical day began with the morning routine and songs, and I would occasionally go over the days of the week in English with them. Then we would take them to have a little snack for breakfast in the kitchen, and then they would play outside. Lots of my time was taken up with simply playing with the kids because they were all so excited to have a new volunteer to push them on the swings and play games with. Later on I would help the teacher in my classroom prepare little worksheets for them, sometimes a picture to color, a number to trace, or things to cut out. We would call the kids inside and give them each the worksheet and I would write their names on each paper so we wouldn’t mix them up. Following the activity would always be playtime again, and throughout the day we would complete about three activities. Sometimes instead of always working in the classroom the teacher would take the kids outside to play a game of soccer for their activity, which was always one of the kids` favorite activities. Apart from work inside the classroom and playing with the children during breaks, the teacher would also ask me to help out with projects such as building a little garden for the kids, painting the playground facilities, cutting the grass, or cleaning and organizing the classroom. There was always something to be done that I was eager to help with. I felt like I really did help the kids and teachers at the daycare a lot, but it was mostly due to my willingness to help. If a volunteer worked there but didn’t really involve themselves and offer help and input and ideas, they would not have the same experience that I did. The key to a successful experience in my opinion is to constantly try to involve yourself.

The host family that FEVI placed me with was absolutely perfect for me. I had two host sisters 13 and 14 years old, and we became very close once they warmed up to me after the first month or so. My host mom was an amazing person and always had a story to tell me, we spent countless hours just talking and sharing stories and experiences- I was so intrigued to learn about her life in Ecuador and she was equally intrigued to hear about my life in the United States. My host dad was also an incredibly interesting person, as his job included driving tourists all around Ecuador. His stories never failed to captivate me. Needless to say, I was never bored at my house. And because they didn´t speak any English, that put me in the perfect environment to become fluent in Spanish. Any time I was confused about the meaning of a word or a phrase, my host mom was more than willing to explain it to me which helped my fluency immensely. Having come to the end of my five months, I would say that I am now fluent in Spanish, which I would not have said before coming here. My experience living with my host family was what really made this whole adventure unforgettable for me. Because I stayed for a longer amount of time, I was able to become extremely close with my whole family and we will definitely stay in contact after I leave.

Another part of my program included a few weekend trips to visit different parts of Ecuador. I was able to visit Otavalo, Papallacta, Atacames, Qutio, and an Ecuadorian rose farm. Otavalo is a largely indigenous town known most for its huge artisan market, which was a fantastic place to buy souveniers. In Papallacta there were natural hot springs where we swam as well as a small trail where we hiked and saw different kinds of unique plants. Atacames is a city on Ecuador´s coast where I spent the weekend of Carnaval, we went to the beach and had an amazing time. Quito is only about 45 minutes from Lumbisi and I was able to go there numerous times, to see Quito´s old town, the gorgeous churches, the president´s house, and lots more. The Ecuadorian rose farm was very interesting because we were given a complete tour and we learned how the roses are cared for and exported to different countries, because Ecuador is known for having the best roses in the world. These weekend trips added so much to my experience here because I was able to see lots of different parts of Ecuador.

I would highly recommend FEVI´s program in Lumbisi, but my advice to potential volunteers is to take initiative and always get yourself involved, because that is how you will get the most out of your experience in Ecuador.

Muchas gracias a mis estudiantes de Illinois y Penn State que colaboraron con la escuela de la tarde para felicidad de los ninos de Lumbisi.  Muy pronto estaremos abriendo nuestra escuela de vacaciones con la colaboracion de los estudiantes del Programa de Estudios Globales de la Universidad de Illinois.  Todos estamos esperando con mucha emocion nuestra escuelita de vacaciones en la Comuna de Lumbisi.   Maria

Hello dear FEVI friends

Lots of things have happened lately in the communities where we work.  Our Lumbisi child care center looks just prescious, we have added a playground área, Purdue University has constructed bleachers for the parents and the kids so that they can watch the special events going on with our Little kids. Also, we added hand rails to the child care center to increase safety around by the stairs. We have constructed hand rails and ramps for elderly people with disabilities in the Lumbisi community.

Thanks Purdue construction team for your hard work in this endeavor!

house

-Maria

 

History

2009 FEVI REPORT AND PLANS FOR 2010 
Dear FEVI friends, this past year has been of great blessings for the kids we serve in Lumbisi, Tonsupa, Huasalata, and other places in Ecuador. We thank you for your presence in our projects, your love, your work, your ideas, your letters, your generosity. 
This past year 2009 we have received in our projects 40 international volunteers from Mexico, the United States, Canada, United Kingdon, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Korea. We have also received in our projects about 50 Ecuadorian volunteers. In Lumbisi we have been able to construct a new classroom. It was intended to be a play room but now because we increased our service from 40 kids to 60 kids it is being used as a new classroom. It looks prescious, and our new teacher Jaime has also been able to set a small corner for puppet shows for our little kids. 
We have new sidewalks, with the help of the mothers of the kids, the teachers, and our volunteers, and friends who contribute for the construction materials. We have been able to pave the sidewalks and make them safer for our little kids. We have also constructed the back wall of the school so that we can make it a safer place.
Our afternoon school is going very well. Our University of Illinois students run the school. We have about 30 kids attending English lessons, and getting help with homework.
Our organic gardens in Lumbisi look prescious! We collect fresh tomatoes, cabbage, fresh herbs, onions, for the elderly people and the kids in the community. Thanks so much for the hard work of the mothers in the community, Ecuadorian and international volunteers.
In Tonsupa, with the help of our summer volunteers, we painted the Gonzalo Pizarro school and we also distributed clothes, toys, toothbrushes and toothpaste to the families and kids in the community.
In Huasalata we did a tooth brushing campaing for the mothers and kids in the community. Our University of Illinois students collected toothbrushes and toothpast and we taught the kids how to use them.
We are still dreaming of the library for the kids in the Lumbisi community, a new playgound for the school in Tonsupa, and we would like to start organic gardening in the Huasalata community. We will again have a summer camp for the kids in the Lumbisi community. We will be doing Art projects, English, Sports, Music, cooking, dancing, playing. We are planning to have the Huasalata and the Tonsupa kids in a visit to Quito so that they can join our Lumbisi summer camp.
Thanks again for always thinking of us. Maria 

 

Fevi 2008 Summer School

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It´s been great to open our new school for 70 wonderful kids who attend our summer session.
We do all kind of learning and 
entertaining activities. Art, English, Music, outdoor activities, cooking…
We thanks our VFP and USFQ volunteers for their hard work in the classroom, the kitchen, the plaground, the organic garden… 

27/07/2008