This country is so rich in its diversity and gifts, that is not possible to mention all of the events nor everything that I experienced during my visit, but I will try to express the most important things.
It was my first volunteer experience and I did not know exactly what I was looking for or what I would achieve. What I found is a second family, a wonderful family. The few months of my life that I spent in Ecuador made me very happy.
I arrived on the bus from Latacunga. As the bus climbed many meters quickly, I did not feel well but Marco, a boy from a nearby community helped me, chatting with me and letting me know when to get off the bus for Malingua Pamba. Ignacio and Elvia’s children welcomed me; immediately wanting to find me a husband here so that I would not feel alone. During my first day of school, Professor Bolivar took me under his wing in his class with whom I worked thereafter.
Within 24 hours, the people showed me their compassion, their openness and their desire to know me.
In 2 weeks, the immersion was total and I felt at home.
Daily, I helped in the school (English, math, P.E. classes, activities with children, etc.) and spent the breaks with everyone.
The children wanted to learn but they were still children. They liked to annoy me a bit so I found a method that worked quite well but above all with which we laughed a lot together: "Outside for 5 minutes for the first one who does something wrong."
Outside the class, they were very open-minded, they wanted to talk about France, to know me, to make jokes. I will not forget the resistance against a kiss on the cheek for the winner, the "hello mame", "hello pape" and "Maria je t'aime".
But being in Malingua was more than this. I lived in the home/hostal of Elvia and Paulino, but lived with all of the Sacatoro Extended Family and the entire community; participating in activities, customs, meals, etc.
I spent a lot of after school time with the children of Malingua Pamba. They are beautiful ! We talked about everything and laughed a lot.
Also participating in many festivities with the family such as: the baptism of John, Enma's graduation from the university, partying with the teachers in Tunguinche, parties in the communities, and so on. A sure thing is that they know how to drink here! We drank beer; we drank homebrew whisky; but I also know that we had a great time together!
In addition, I visited other areas of this country: Quito, the Orient, the Coast, Cuenca, Guayaquil in addition to exploring the region around Malingua. It is extraordinarily beautiful, diverse, and the people are very friendly.
After my first six weeks, I left to visit Argentina and… missed everyone! So I decided to go back, surprising everyone ;). I spent Christmas and the New Year with them plus a few more weeks before I went to my other volunteer spot in Nicaragua.
It is as if Ecuador were my second country. I am happy here.
What follows is more than a list of acknowledgments - it a story of my life here. It is my attempt to list the moments that I shared with people and our relationships:
Thanks to the children, so open, funny and curious. I learned a lot and hope it is reciprocal.
Thanks to Paulino and Elvia for being so welcoming, the good food, and the affection of their whole family. And, Paulino, I'm waiting for you in France soon!
Thanks to Roberto, Hugo, Boli, Edison, Ivan, Hernan, with whom I talked and shared many moments cooking, planting vegetables, peeling vegetables, watching movies, doing exercises on the roof ...
Thanks to Boli for motorcycle rides in the mountains; better than you know!
Thanks to Roberto for spending so much time with me but unfortunately, I cannot assure that it is possible to start over.
Thanks to Edy for the coffee together, your friendship, for your good words when I needed it. You have shown me successfully that it is not necessary to be an adult to understand some things.
Thanks to John for not crying and being such a beautiful baby.
Thanks to Ignacio for talking to me a lot, for sharing the news all the time, even when I was in Argentina. This community has a good president!
Thanks to Lautaro for the chemistry classea - spark for our friendship!
Thanks to William for taking good care of me (what an intelligent girl your Maite ;)!).
Thanks to Enma for accompanying me to the hairdresser, you are beautiful with your new cut ;).
Thanks to Ramiro for his jokes and his permanent smile.
Thanks to Sonia for sharing your bed with me in Latacunga (you still talk a little when you sleep :)).
Thanks to Mamita for treating me as her daughter and for saving me from a boy who was bothering me.
Thanks to Profe Boli and his family for the stay in Lasso and the hot springs in Ilinizas.
Thanks to the team of teachers for sharing their work with me and what a farewell ;).
Thanks to the football team, Blanca, Moni, for letting me participate in a game I did not even know how to play!
I cannot name everyone, but thank you all for your energy, your good humor, your love, your time and your kind words to me.
For me, it was love at first site: Malingua, the children, the people, the Sacatoro Family, my papa, especially my old papa;).
I can not promise to go back a third time. Nevertheless a French proverb says never to say never. So, I'm not going to say anything more but I'm sure of one thing, it's that I'll keep them in my trunk of memories.
I love you very much / Astata munani / Je vous aime fort !!!
To future volunteers: if you want to live and discover a culture apart, do not hesitate for a second and go there.
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