I had the most amazing time during my stay in Quito and in my project at the rescue centre. I can’t thank you and everyone at Outreach International enough for organising it all for me.
In fact I was sad to be leaving, the five weeks passed so quickly! But I would love to return at some point and also to look at some of the other projects you offer elsewhere in the future.
Of course I have been more than happy to complete the form for you and write a little more about my experience. I have done so below……………
My stay in Ecuador was truly one of the most incredible trips I have experienced on my gap year so far. Outreach International did such a good job of ensuring I was in the right project and that I was well prepared and looked after.
During my time in the capital of Quito I stayed with a host family who made me feel completely at ease in their home and were happy to help with absolutely anything. The Spanish school was conveniently just across the road; it was very relaxed and lessons were always fun. I also enjoyed some extra optional activities that the school provided, for example the cooking class!
The rest of my time in Ecuador was spent volunteering at the animal rescue centre. I found this to be a really rewarding project to take part in because it was great to be so involved with the care and rehabilitation of the rescued wildlife.
Something that really stands out for me is when I was able to go to Tamandua ecological reserve to help release a rescued kinkajou back into the wild; it was a really amazing moment to witness and reiterated the main purpose of the work at the centre.
Overall I gained a really satisfying insight into Ecuadorean life; the culture, the biodiversity, the landscapes… and although my stay was short, I have memories that will last a lifetime.
I was really pleased with how quick and easy the application process was and how quickly I received a response. The interview process was brilliant because I was able to explain exactly what I was looking for and was placed in the perfect project – one that I hadn’t considered but was very grateful to have been recommended.
I always felt up to date and supported every step of the way during my preparations for the trip – from booking flights to my vaccinations. My questions were always responded to quickly and so I always felt well informed. This was no different in the pre-departure briefing; I was given all the relevant information and felt fully prepared.
Monika and her family were so kind and supportive with everything. I felt very welcomed and very well looked after.
The accommodation was more than satisfactory and in a perfect location. I really enjoyed the home cooked traditional food and was also very grateful that they catered to my vegetarian diet.
It was very well organised in comparison to another rescue centre I have volunteered at before. I liked the structured/timetabled days. The number of volunteers ranged from around 12 – 18 during my time there and of all different ages. There were two volunteer coordinators, two on-site vets, a cleaner and a cook, and a number of manual workers.
The project goals were to help care for and improve the lives of the rescued animals, as well as help with the rehabilitation and release process for some. We were given specific tasks each day that contributed to these goals so I did feel as though I was fulfilling them.
It was very well run and organised in terms of the daily routine. I definitely felt it was ethical. The main focus was always in the best interests of the animals, and they always work to rehabilitate and release an animal back into the wild when possible. The protocols in place for this process were very professional and I love that they even own some land at Tamandua Reserve in the rainforest where the releases take place.
Every morning and afternoon began with a feeding round which involved preparing the animal diets and delivering them to their enclosures. Other tasks included cleaning enclosures, improving/fixing enclosures, providing enrichment for the animals etc.
I think volunteers with some experience in animal biology / veterinary sciences would be particularly useful for the centre, plus volunteers with good DIY/manual skills.
We also built and installed new enrichment toys for the monkeys, and documented their effectiveness.
The most rewarding contribution for me was helping to release a kinkajou back into the wild at the Tamandua reserve.
I was also able to suggest some ideas that I had from the previous rescue centre I was at and these were implemented.
Thank you again for everything Steve!
For more on this project see the project description