Enjoy the life in Patate in the Andean foothills near the Tungurahua volcano. Work on school and public infrastructure projects. Finish the journey with three days in the Galapagos Islands, swimming, snorkeling at reefs and doing conservation work in the National Park.
Service projects in Ecuador are as diverse as the country itself. For the last six years, VISIONS has worked closely with the Patate Municipality, local schools and a social welfare organization to determine the most pressing needs. Teen volunteers have built greenhouses, kiosks for artisans to sell their wares and even a museum addition. Past VISIONS students also completed significant renovations to La Casa de Ancianos (an elders’ home), where you may help meet current needs from gardening to building repairs. Construction projects include adobe and masonry work to expand and improve area schools. You’ll work side by side with our local maestro, Segundo, who shares his skills, his spirit and his Spanish tips. Additionally, you will entertain young kids at the Gotitas de Miel daycare center. During the excursion to the Galapagos Islands, we’ll carve out some time to assist the National Park with environmental initiatives, such as removing invasive plant species and helping out at the Giant Tortoise Reserve.
It’s easy to feel like family at our home in Patate. The residents of this agricultural town of 15,000, located 2.5 hours south of Quito, are easy-going and quick to smile. You’ll be immersed right away, as VISIONS volunteers are housed in a church located directly across from the town plaza. This Plaza Central is a popular gathering place for street soccer, food markets and live music. Local artisans will teach you some of the many crafts produced locally, including weaving, pottery and embroidery. And in a region known for its diversity of crops (avocados, mandarins, limes and grapes), you can bet that our cook and house mom Lupe will be sharing culinary tips, including how to make quimbolitos (sweet tamales). In the Galapagos, we’ll stay in a small family hotel run by longtime VISIONS friends Nelly and Javier, who’ll take you boating and to a cookout at their farm. All this cultural immersion means plentiful opportunities to speak Spanish—and make personal connections you’ll never forget.
Cost and Session Information
June 29 - July 23, 2019
80 Sevice Hours
2 Participant ReviewsWrite a Review
Over the summer, I went on a Visions trip in Ecuador, and it was certainly an unforgettable experience. Unlike other service programs, Visions helped me to really understand the culture of South America and its people, who are so full of life and love. In our short four week sojourn in Patate, fourteen other teens and I accomplished so much. The main project which we carried out was the construction of a bathroom in a primary school. This was a great opportunity for us to truly interact with the people at the school; we played games with the kids and discussed daily life the teachers. The relationships that I developed with the Ecuadorians are truly priceless, and I often find myself drifting back to the dreamlike experiences I had on my trip. The breathtaking views, the passionate games of soccer, the energy and spirit of the people, and so much more has really given me such a new perspective on the world. I am so thankful for all of my Visions leaders who were great mentors and role models, and who made our trip a success. I highly recommend Visions for anyone seeking to discover all of the life and soul that exists in other cultures all over the world, and for those wishing to accomplish something greater than themselves, all the while developing a very strong community.
When most teens are inevitably asked to describe a life-changing experience, I don't hesitate to answer. Going on two Visions trips, to the Dominican Republic and Ecuador, is by far the best decision I have ever made. I had gone to an overnight camp for many years, but the adventures I had on these trips far surpassed anything I had ever experienced. Visions sets itself apart from other community service programs because it creates a tight-knit community that gets serious work done in between incredible outings. The programs make up the best two months of my life, and my friends feel the same. Even after over a year, the kids from the Dominican Republic and I still manage to keep up with each other. Visions is the perfect program for anyone who wants to make a difference in their own life and the lives of others. I would not be the same person without going on these trips, and I highly highly recommend them to anyone interested.