Volunteers Melissa de Wit and Romée Hirsch spent two weeks working as English teachers in a Huaorani community in the Amazon. Read all about their experiences volunteering in the education project in national park Yasuní below.
by Melissa de Wit and Romée Hirsch
Participating in the education project in Amazon is a once in a lifetime experience. Not only do you get the opportunity to help the Haourani tribe, you also get to live in one of the most biodiverse places on earth.
The trip to Yasuní is long but absolutely worth it. We thought it was pretty cool to travel by boat to your destination! As a volunteer you will stay in the Yasuní research station, where you have your own (dorm)room and bathroom. There is a nice area with a lot of hammocks where you can relax in your free time and enjoy the nature around you.
A workweek in Yasuní
During the day you work with the Huaorani tribe and teach them English. In the mornings you get breakfast at 07:00 and you leave by car to the place where you teach English to the children. They are enthusiastic and very eager to learn. It is fun, but honestly sometimes also a challenge if you have never taught little children. Here you will learn how to make sure they don’t get distracted and teach them English in a fun way.
At midday you will leave to have lunch at the station. After a short afternoon break, you will return to teach the adults of the tribe. Just like the children, they are very eager to learn. When you finish class, you have the opportunity to get to know them better and practice your Spanish!
If you get to know the Huaorani better, you will learn about their culture. It will amaze you how much knowledge they have about things we don’t know anything about. They know a lot about medical issues and symptoms and how to treat these for example. In addition they make bowls, bracelets, and stuff they use to hunt in the jungle. You can learn about all the things you can eat and make from the nature around you from them. Like how the Huaorani make a juice from a type of banana that grows here, which turns into alcohol after a while!
Spare time activities
In the evenings after dinner you are free to do whatever you like. Sometimes it is possible to do a night tour through the jungle. This is very cool! Another thing you can do around here is watch the stars. When it is not cloudy you can see the milky way and the stars brighter than ever!
In the weekends you can go on a boat tour or go for a walk to explore the jungle and (if you’re lucky) see some animals, like monkeys. We recommend the boat tour, because you see parts of the jungle that you otherwise would never see. If you are really lucky you can even spot pink dolphins! A walk through the jungle is included in the boat tour. We got to see a monkey, a turtle and tropical birds during our walk.
We can definitely say that Yasuní is the highlight of our trip in Ecuador thus far. The nature, the people and the ambiance are fantastic here! You will see and hear animals that you’ve never seen or heard before, and try food that you’ve never tasted before! If you would like to combine volunteer work with a lot of new experiences, a great environment and a relaxing lifestyle, this is absolutely the place to be!
© Local Dreamers, Volunteering in the Amazon in Ecuador