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Jan '12

A little more than we bargained for

One of the reasons for this trip, and one of the things we’re most excited about is the opportunity to serve others. We now have the blessing of time and want to share that gift with others. So, we have been planning for months to volunteer at an organization in Baños (Fundación Arte Del Mundo).  We finally got around to actually sending in the application the week before we left.  We emailed back and forth with the organization and just a couple of days before departing on our trip, officially signed up to volunteer with them for one month starting February 6th!

This may not seem like big news until you know just what volunteering with Arte Del Mundo entails. Being a volunteer at Arte Del Mundo requires a 20+ hour per week commitment, in order for the volunteers to best serve the kids. With Spanish lessons already taking up 20 hours a week, we’re looking at a pretty heavy schedule for a few weeks. In addition, the organization requires that volunteers live in their low cost volunteer housing because they use the “rent” to help fund the organization. So, we have signed up for a private room (with a double bed to boot!) and will be sharing the kitchen, bathrooms and living areas.

So, although 20 hours a week is more than we had originally anticipated volunteering while still taking Spanish lessons, we could not be more excited!! Some of the main goals we had while on this trip will hopefully be fulfilled through this new endeavor. We are not taking this trip as an extended vacation, but as an opportunity to grow and serve, and this opportunity will ensure we don’t end up sitting around like tourists! 🙂 We also really want to develop a community of friends while on this trip and what better way than by living with a group of people committed to service?!

Please check out their website at: http://artedelmundoecuador.com/ to see what they’re all about. We feel this organization is doing “non-profit” right and can’t wait to get started.

We visited the organization yesterday during their after school program, and were able to really see it in action!  It was very neat to see the kids engaged, and visualize ourselves working with them.  We’re now working on coming up with ideas for activities and events with the kids once we start. If you have any ideas for kid friendly, low cost activities (think VBS!), please send us an email or leave us a comment!

We’ve just returned from a fun BBQ that they hosted for people from the community to practice English.  It was a potluck, so we made Rice Krispie treats, kinda.. (think flavored pastel colored marshmallows and vanilla and chocolate cereal) – but still a hit!

After we start volunteering we’ll post more updates on our experience and the organization!


6 comments to “A little more than we bargained for”

  1. Angie Nitz Says:

    Loving your posts! What kinds of materials do you have to work with for your projects? I am pretty good at coming up with ways to use craft foam, beads and Popsicle sticks 🙂

  2. Abby Says:

    Angie-It looks like they use a lot of recycled materials: old water/coke bottles, toilet paper rolls, those cardboard-like milk containers, etc. Are there any websites that you’d recommend? You would be perfect at this place–It reminded me of Christmas Camp when we walked in! 🙂

  3. Linda Haupt Says:

    Toilet paper rolls (or longer like from paper towels) and make great “rain sticks”. You could cover or paint them or just color the cardboard, seal one end and put in tiny pebbles (we use rice or dried beans. Seal off the other end and your done. To “play” them you slowly turn them upside down and it sounds like rain. Water and coke bottles make great maracas. Cardboard milk containers can be closed so they are flat on all sides, covered if you have paper, and made into building blocks. Love your posts!!! Linda

  4. Linda Haupt Says:

    Hi Abby,
    Check our makingfriends.com. Put recycled supplies in the search box and then scroll down. There were lots of great ideas for cardboard tubes.
    The empty milk cartons and be closed up so they are rectangles. Cover with paper if you have or not if you don’t. And they make fun blocks to build with.
    Love your blog – love and prayers! Linda

  5. Angie Nitz Says:

    Yeah, so obviously when I said “I’m pretty good” what I really meant was “My MOM’s pretty good”. My secret is out! 🙂 I don’t know what your format is like, but I like the idea of using toilet paper rolls to make things like puppets (just stick them on a craft stick or pencil, or whatever you have and then decorate them with whatever you have (markers, fabric scraps, yarn, whatever). Then you can use them to have the kids put on puppet shows (either reviewing a story they learned, or writing their own, or whatever). A good thing to do with milk would be to make pencil holders, because then you can use whatever you have lying around to decorate it, and you don’t need specific supplies. Again, I don’t know what other lessons the kids are working on, but milk cartons make good “planters” too for growing seeds into seedlings, etc, or to give for mother’s day gifts, etc. I’ll keep thinking!

  6. Abby Says:

    Angie and Linda–You two are like a mean-green kid-activity creating machine! Thanks so much for the recommendations! Living in a city called “Banos” (bathrooms), you would think we should be able to find tons of toilet paper rolls! 🙂 I love these ideas and the website is great! When I get there and see what random materials they have, I may see if you have ideas about what to do with them. Thanks again!

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