"After deciding to volunteer in Ecuador, I was put in touch with Jana, a nurse who is starting a foundation in Paragachi. I decided to spend two weeks helping out in any way I could. With no expectations, I headed to Pimampiro, Ecuador. Jana had paired up with Monatanas de Esperanza and I was amazed at how dedicated the organization is to supporting the culture and advancing the well-being of Ecuadorians, particularly those in the Andean communities. When I offered to help at local high schools, all I needed to do was mention "Paul from Montanas de Esperanza" and everyone was exceptionally welcoming; he is a well-respected member of the community. The highlights of my trip were working with babies and preschoolers in a village daycare center and taking high school students who had never left the mountains on a field trip to a nearby city. Their faces lit up as they rode an escalator for the first time! I wish I could have stayed longer to help with any of the amazing projects being overseen by Montanas de Esperanza!"
-- Michele Segal, Pediatric Nurse, San Francisco
"I met Jana and Liz while volunteering in Peru with a Canadian organization called Solidarity In Action. From the 2 weeks that I spent with them in Peru during the trip, I knew that they were really going to do something amazing in Ecuador. It felt right to go to Pimampiro and spend the summer there volunteering. I spent each Monday at a centre where lunch was provided by the government to the elderly. I came before lunch to keep them company and bring them colouring pages. On Tuesdays, I went to the daycare in Paragachi for a few hours to help the teachers out. Some times I would come and bring colouring pages for the children or I would just play with them to give the teachers a break. The best of all was seeing the children outside of the daycare when I went to visit Paragachi. All they wanted to do was play with me and ask when I was coming back to see them. I don't think they realized that when I said goodbye for the last time, I wouldn't be coming back next week. It was very difficult to leave my family in Pimampiro but I hope that they think of me as often as I think of them. Some day I will return to Pimampiro to again see the difference that Jana and Liz have made and to see my loving family. I can't thank Jana and Liz enough for the opportunity that they gave me and how it has changed my life forever."
-- Stef Beuhner, University Student, Canada