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Blog: Book Bus Ecuador a Volunteer’s Story


Oct 2013

Book Bus Ecuador a Volunteer’s Story

Posted by / in Blog, Traveller's Tales /

Book Bus Ecuador a Volunteer’s Story

I’ve recently returned from a ten week trip to Ecuador, working with the Book Bus foundation in Puerto Lopez. We ran reading lessons and book-related activities in five schools in and around the town, helping to tackle the high rates of illiteracy in the area. The trip was extremely worthwhile, as although you cannot expect to change the world, in ten weeks there was a noticeable improvement among the students. In particular, some of the furthest behind blossomed with the one-to-one teaching, and started to catch up with their peers. The children are full of enthusiasm – they love the books we bring, and in a few weeks were greeting me excitedly on the streets to ask when we were next visiting their school.

Book Bus Puerto Lopez Ecuador 2

A few Challenges

It was difficult at first to get them to use their imagination for the activities, as lessons in Ecuador are usually copying off the board, but after a few weeks they got the hang of it and it was wonderful to see their own ideas starting to develop. The schools are very different to those in England, with large class sizes in small, noisy classrooms, and a far more relaxed attitude to school – I was startled on the first day when one of the kids just got bored and walked out, but apparently this is a regular occurrence! However, after a few weeks we had managed to plan enough fun activities for them that they were happy to stay in the classroom and get some work done.

Book Bus Puerto Lopez Ecuador 1

The town of Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez is a small fishing town set on the beautiful Ruta del Sol, Pacific coast, Ecuador. Although it’s poor and slightly shabby looking, with mud roads and a crumbling paintwork, I soon came to love the town. The people are very welcoming and friendly, there are plenty of cheap and tasty cafes and the town always feels safe, so I was quite comfortable to walk home alone at night as an single female traveller. There is plenty to do in the surrounding area, from visiting the beautiful beaches to whale watching and pony trekking and one weekend I even combined all three, spotting a humpback whale, from the beach, while riding a horse!

Book Bus Puerto Lopez Ecuador 3

Don’t worry, Ecuador is a safe

So don’t worry even if you’re travelling alone: Ecuador is a safe country to travel in, and although you need to be prepared to work quite hard you can still make a real difference! I would definitely recommend the project to all book lovers, and anyone else who wants to help the children there develop their potential. It’s also a good way to improve your Spanish, and an experience that will stick with me for many years to come.

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