Former volunteer Niels came to Quito twice to strengthen the Local Dreamers team. In November 2017 and March 2018 he worked within our projects and he lived in Quito. At the same time as his volunteerwork, he got to know the Ecuadorian people and the country very well and he enjoyed the food, the people and the landscapes. In this article Niels writes about his experiences.
By Niels Jochims
Life as a volunteer and local
After 5 months in South-America I’m back home in the Netherlands since two weeks. In total, I’ve been a volunteer at Local Dreamers for about 2,5 months. Looking back on this amazing time and all the things I experienced here I don’t even know where to start.
First of all, I had a great time working in the English, football and swimming school. Teaching English and swimming to children was totally new to me. I had no idea if I would like it, but afterwards I can say that working as a volunteer was amazing. My weeks at Local Dreamers were very diverse and I loved every aspect of it. Being able to teach both children and adults something new every day was a lot of fun. Furthermore, seeing how enthusiastic and hardworking the students are gave me an amazing feeling.
One of the things I liked about my time with Local Dreamers is that you see a part of Quito that most people don’t see. Living in a host family in a neighbourhood with only locals is a different experience than when you’re traveling. It teaches you a lot about the culture and mentality of the people there. Of course, this isn’t only pretty, because life for people in those neighbourhoods can be a lot harder than life in the Netherlands. I think it’s amazing when you see how people are always so open and happy over there while they have way less than we do. Under any circumstances people in Quito know how to enjoy life and don’t complain about little things.
I have so many amazing memories that I can’t even tell what the best part of my time in Quito was. I can say there were a few highlights for me besides being a volunteer at the regular projects. Handing out tickets for the Christmas packages on the streets to local people was one of them. Or the week before I left to Holland with Local Dreamers we organized a football match for the boys group of 9 till 11 years old. For a lot of those guys it was their first match ever. Afterwards we went to eat salchipapa with all the boys and to see all the happy faces and the fun during and after the match was great. Then there were the two flea markets we organized to raise money for the organisation, or the Spanish classes with Vladimir. And I could go on and on and on….
In conclusion, my time with Local Dreamers was incredible, I’m going to miss the organisation! I met a lot of amazing people. Most of them through Local Dreamers, but also local people outside the organisation with whom I learned so much about Ecuador and its culture. People that showed me a lot of amazing places in this country. And still there’s so much left to see! All of that means that there are many reasons to come back sometime, and maybe I will!
© Local Dreamers, life as a volunteer in Ecuador