Last September we welcomed Christian Albarrasin as an English teacher at the foundation. The born Ecuadorian lived a big part of his life in the United States and after his return to Ecuador he came into contact with our foundation. Christian writes about his experiences as one of the few Ecuadorian volunteers in this Dutch foundation.
By Christian Albarrasin
I arrived in Ecuador (after a few years of not having been here), planning to stay only for a week, as had been the case on many previous occasions. Ecuador’s the country in which I was born; the country in which I never really lived before. With so many countries to choose from, Ecuador is the country where my Mother first decided to plant her seeds, and where she later on decided to retire in. Due to her decisions, I now find myself residing here in Ecuador. I am living a life I had never thought I’d live. My life currently consists of many different activities, businesses, hobbies, and people. Among them is Local Dreamers. An organization which I had never heard of before, and without looking for, appeared in my life one day.
Scrolling through my Facebook timeline
On my downtime, I like to browse through local Facebook groups. In one of those groups, I happened to read a posting in which the person of Local Dreamers was asking members of the group for donations (in the form of clothes and furniture, that would be sold in a “yard sale”). At first I paid no mind to the posting, and I just kept on scrolling down the group feed. But truth be told, the name, “Local Dreamers”, and their logo, stayed on my mind. Before I knew it, I found myself Googling the foundation. I found their website and their Facebook page, and read some of the content and reviews found within. I found their cause to be a noble one, therefore I decided to reach out to them and offer to make a donation. A donation that I never ended up making. Due to unforeseen business related obligations, I had to travel to a neighboring country. When I came back I completely forgot about the donation I had offered to make.
Days went by and I finally had time to scroll down my Facebook messages. Then I noticed that I had received a message from a representative of Local Dreamers. That’s when I remembered my initial offering, but by then, the yard sale had already taken place. I felt bad for having broken my word. I reached out to the foundation once again, and offered to donate my time. They accepted my offer, and I proceeded to meeting with them. We meet, we conversed, and before I knew it, I was part of the team.
Volunteering at Local Dreamers
At first I decided to volunteer because of the guilt I felt for breaking my word. I was solely going to volunteer for a few days and call it even. But as I started volunteering and working with the kids, I saw how eager some of them were to learn English. I saw how some of them looked forward to the next class I’d teach. Little by little I started to get to know the kids that I teach. Some of them started warming up to me, confiding in me, and sharing with me their dreams and their goals. Dreams and goals that my own children had. And even though I don’t let myself get too attached to the children I teach, I do feel a sense of responsibility to help them achieve their dreams.
I have students who want to learn, and I have the time and willingness to teach them all that I know, knowing that I can make a difference in their lives. I’m at Local Dreamers because I know I can help turn the dreams of the local kids, into a reality. The compensation I receive is in knowing that I’m making a difference in their lives, for as small of a difference as it might be. I don’t know how long I’ll be volunteering at Local Dreamers, but as long as I’m there, I’ll keep on giving as much of myself as I can, knowing that the compensation is one that nobody, but myself, can see or feel.
© Local Dreamers, Christian about volunteering at Local Dreamers in Quito, Ecuador