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Nicole Bettin: Childcare and Therapy at an Orphanage in Ecuador

Ecuador Ecuador  |  Jan 10, 2012
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 Do it! No matter what project you choose, it is guaranteed to be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. 

Tell us about your experiences with Kaya (sign up process, preparation) - Registering through Kaya was a quick and easy process. The application online took only a few minutes and we heard back from Kaya within a week of applying. Plenty of information was provided regarding what to pack, what to expect, and how to best prepare for the trip. Any additional questions were answered in a timely manner through email.

What made you chose that particular project/country? - I chose this particular project because I was looking for a volunteer opportunity where I could utilize my physical therapy knowledge and improve my Spanish speaking skills.

Can you tell us about your experience in your homestay accommodation -Our homestay accommodations were fantastic. We stayed with a wonderful family of four who really made us feel at home. They were very helpful with planning sightseeing trips and calling cabs when necessary. At night we would exchange stories about our day, assist their boys with English dictation homework, and play games while the host mother prepared dinner.

Can you tell us a bit more about your role on the project? - The project I took part in was assisting with childcare and providing physical therapy to children at the orphanage. Daily tasks ranged from assisting with field trips, attending medical appointments, educating the caregivers on therapy interventions, assisting with mealtime, and playing with the children. My friend and myself left instructions regarding physical therapy exercise suggestions to further help caregivers at the orphanage. 

Did you have any worries before you left? - I was nervous about staying with a host family until I met them. Other than that I felt well prepared for the trip.

Did anything surprise you? -  I was surprised by how nice our host home was!

What were the highlights? -Working with the children and seeing their faces light up when we arrived each day. Also, knowing that we made a difference in the children’s lives.

What does travelling as a volunteer mean to you vs travelling as a tourist? -  Travelling as a volunteer allowed us to make an impact. Even though we were volunteering we had a lot of free time to sightsee.

How has the experience affected you? - I have decided that I will definitely adopt a child someday. Working with the children has also confirmed that I would like to work as a pediatric physical therapist in the future.

What would you say to others thinking of volunteering? - Do it! No matter what project you choose, it is guaranteed to be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. 

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