The Book Bus Ecuador
If you enjoy reading stories and going on adventures, why not have an adventure reading stories to South American children who live on the Pacific coast in rural Ecuador?
Why the Book Bus needs you.
The Book Bus first visited schools in Ecuador in 2010. Since then the children’s enthusiasm has spread more than we anticipated. At first small groups of 4 or 5 children would come aboard each day; now our volunteers lead more reading sessions each day, with more children. The Book Bus legacy remains providing “Reading Corners” which are areas within the school that are set aside for quiet-time, and consist of shelves stocked with several hundred reading books. The Reading Corners remain at schools as an everyday resource, free to use.
We need volunteers to bridge the gap between books on shelves and children reading for pleasure.
Ecuador needs her people to be confident readers so that they are better equipped to tackle the social, economic and environmental challenges that most countries (including our own) face: reading is the foundation of so many things that lie beyond the classroom. Environmental degradation is a key concern in Ecuador, which includes the wonders of the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands within her national boundaries. The education system in Ecuador remains underfunded and school libraries do not really exist: The Book Bus is in a position to assist with these challenges.
We work at grass roots level and to ensure the project is sustainable, we partner with Ecuadorian NGO “Ecuador Tierra Viva”. By joining the Book Bus team in Ecuador you can make a positive contribution to child literacy and help secure the future of the country’s natural resources.
What will you be doing?
Book Bus encourages learning through group work, classroom interaction and one-to-one reading sessions. As a volunteer you’ll join others, guided by our in-country staff, and … react to the situation you encounter! There is no set formular and each school situation is unique. The challenge is to find the right approach which may be reading-based; puppet making; illustrating a story with drawings, or song: whatever it takes to spark an individual’s interst, at a given moment. The key is to be imaginative and creative!
Our Book Bus staff and the local teachers help to organise the school sessions and they are on-hand to provide advice. Most volunteers quickly develop their own style and it’s amazing just how quickly each session flies by!
Tried and tested techniques include:-
Shared reading, assisted reading and story telling to encourage children to engage with stories and the characters contained within.
Dramatising stories through art and craft
The Book Bus is stocked with arts and crafts materials to use to interpret stories and characters. Stimulating creativity and imagination is an important part of the scheme. Drawings, mask-making, models and even making mini-books are all activities that work well.
Organise activities around a book
Some children respond well to a physical activity, based around a story, or a name game, that will add vivacity to the “dry task” of reading, as they see it. For this situation our on-board parachute is universally popular!
Whilst these techniques are very useful, the most important single ingredient is the unbridled enthusiasm of … you! No matter what your background, profession or experience, you will provide inspiration just by being there and taking an interest in the children.
The Book Bus Team
The Ecuadorian Book Bus team is led by the living ball of energy that is Paulina Vivanco, a bi-lingual Ecuadorian who appreciates the needs of the volunteer as much as she appreciates the needs of the children. She will help you settle in to Latin life and ensure all the i’s are dotted, airport transfers confirmed and school visits arranged.
Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities and Paulina works the alchemy to make the group a cohesive team.
Life on the project can be challenging at times: new environment, new language, new food and everyday life is just plain different! This is definitely stimulating, but equally challenging. Paulina and her team are there to smooth the way.
Life in the village
The Venture Co House is self-contained, self-catering and the bedrooms are on a twin share basis. Cooking is done on gas stoves and food is bought at the local open-air market, supplemented by the occasional trip to the supermarket. Puerto Lopez is primarily a fishing community, so if you like seafood, you’ll find yourself in heaven! Vegetarians have a broad choice of fresh fruit and veg to choose from (some, we guarantee, will be completely new to you!).
The house is a 3 min walk from the village centre and there are loads of coffee shops, restaurants and beach cafes for meals out. Internet connection in the village is pretty good and there are several internet cafes.
Learning Spanish with the Book Bus
Picking up a new language is not as hard as it might seem, especially when you are using it to speak with the local people everyday. Our Spanish language school in Quito will get you off to a flying start and after a couple of weeks on the Book Bus you will be speaking confidently with the children. If you’re unsure how you will cope with the Book Bus in a foreign language be assured that our local staff mentor you throughout the project so that you can contribute in a positive and meaningful way. To find out more about Learning Spainish with the Book Bus click here
A typical day
8:00: Depart for school
8:30: Book Bus School visits
Four X 45 min reading sessions; Monday to Friday. We normally spend 3 months working with 5 primary schools on a weekly cycle. Pupil ages range from 6 to 13 years old and class sizes range from 6 to 50 pupils.
12:30: End school classes
Afternoon free for lesson preparation and exploring locally.
Week-ends are free.
Placement cost and what’s included
The two week (minimum term to volunteer) fee is £749 [Excluding international flights.]
Local payment $200 for the fist 2 weeks.
Each additional week is £195 plus $100 local payment.
Visa if required, International flights, optional activities, travel insurance, vaccinations, personal expenditure.
Flights to Ecuador range from £600 to £900 depending on season and seat availability. VentureCo have access to favourable rates and are ATOL bonded. If you would like a quote please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Most people fly in and out of Quito airport but some fly into Guayaquil and some travel overland from Peru and some even combine their project with an overland tour.
Getting to Puerto Lopez
Travel from Quito to Puerto Lopez takes half a day, or longer. It’s highly recommended to hop down to the coast by plane and then drive the last little bit. We have prepared a fact sheet, please click here for a pdf.
You can volunteer for any duration from 2 weeks and longer. Please aim to arrive on a Saturday so that Paulina can conduct a project briefing on the Sunday and youll have a chance to meet your fellow volunteers before Monday morning.
This is a popular project and space is restricted to ten volunteers. We advise that you send in your booking form (download here) as soon as possible along with the £100 deposit.
If you have any questions or need further information or would like to speak with a past volunteer then drop us a line. email@example.com