If you're visiting this blog, you likely know that I am travelling to Ecuador and Peru from September -December of this year to do volunteer work. I will be spending time at an animal rescue/rehabilitation centre just outside of the Amazon rain forest, as well as helping at a school for disadvantaged children in Peru. I created this blog so that everyone interested will be able to receive updates on my adventures, as I'll be able to make posts on the go with my phone while I'm gone (and whenever I happen to find wifi). I figured while I have a little time before l leave, I should provide some details!
Where am I going?: On September 7th I will be flying out of Toronto just before lunch time, stopping in El Salvador, and arriving in Quito, Ecuador around 11pm/midnight the same day. I'll be volunteering at the Merazonia animal centre in the village of Mera, about 150km south of Quito. After spending about 5 weeks here I'll be making my way down to Cuzco, Peru which is in the south-east corner of the country. My volunteer placement there lasts from October 22nd until November 29th, but I haven't bought my return flight ticket yet since I'm sure I'll want to do more!
What made you want to do this/go to these places?: Initially, I had plans to leave in July/August to teach English in South Korea. However, because I'm terrible with procrastination and trying to wing everything, I didn't anticipate how drawn out and complicated the application process was, and also left it pretty late. Not wanting to take the chance that I end up with a brutal placement, I figured I'd give it a go next semester, but I also didn't want to wait around that long. With that in mind I came to the decision that I wanted to do volunteer work for a few months somewhere foreign and new.
South America came to mind not only because I've never been there, but because I've heard many great stories from friends and family that have traveled there. From what I'd heard and read, every country seemed to be so rich with culture, tradition, and history, that I couldn't pass up the opportunity. Mix that with my love of animals, my wanting to work with/help children in need, my love of travelling and my interest in different cultures, and it's easy to see why the decision wasn't exactly a hard one to make.
I spent about a week looking up as many different volunteer opportunities as I could find, and over a few days gradually whittled away all of the options that didn't sound like they were truly non-profit organizations, or if they simply didn't seem to be very passionate about what they did. After picking these two destinations, everything else just snowballed and came together gradually, and here I am in disbelief that I leave in 5 days.
Although this is a pretty daunting and intimidating experience, I know deep down that it will be incredibly rewarding and will be one of, if not the, most incredible times of my life. All I can do is go into this with an open mind and open heart, try as many new things as I can, and soak it all in! That being said, I'm honoured that you've taken the time to read this, and I hope that the stories and pictures I post up here are entertaining!