Switch headers Switch to TIGweb.org

Are you an TIG Member?
Click here to switch to TIGweb.org

HomeHomeExpress YourselfPanoramaVolunteering in Latin America and Online
a TakingITGlobal online publication

(Advanced Search)

Panorama Home
Issue Archive
Current Issue
Next Issue
Featured Writer
TIG Magazine
Short Story
My Content

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Volunteering in Latin America and Online Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Samantha, Canada Oct 27, 2009
Informal/Experiential Learning , Culture , Environment   Experiences
 1 2   Next page »


Volunteering in Latin America and Online I have worked and volunteered with several non-profit organizations in Canada and Latin America and the experiences I have had have been incredibly enriching.

While volunteering in rural Ecuador, I was able to do environmental work, community development work, and teach in an elementary school. Many saw the experience as selfless and admirable, but I know that I gained many more rewards from it than did the people I volunteered to help. For them, the experience was helpful, but for me it was life-changing. I gained valuable work experience, learned a new language, and made friendships that would change my life.

While living in Canada, I found ways to continue to help those in Latin America and other regions of the world, by volunteering online and with organizations that support non-profit work in Latin America. Volunteering online with Taking IT Global enables me to support individuals and organizations across the world, who are working towards similar goals to me. It also helps me connect with youth across the world with similar values so that we can work together and inspire each other.

My volunteer work has been varied, but I’d like to go into detail about one particular volunteer position that impacted me more than any other: my three month volunteer internship in rural Ecuador: My days in Ecuador were divided between the nearby village and the biological station on which I lived. Every morning I would walk for around 45 minutes on a dirt (sometimes mud) road to the tiny village of Bunche, which had fewer than 100 inhabitants. There, I taught English as a Second Language to all grades of the village’s elementary/ middle school. Afterwards there was a break, during which I would play with the children and get to socialize with them outside of the classroom setting.

Some of my students loved learning English, while others used class time as a time to act out and even run away, leaving the classroom to see what the silly “gringa” (foreign) teacher would do to get them back into class. Most, however, were eager to learn, attentive, and patient with my beginner Spanish abilities. The NGO I worked with would often organize community events such as cleanups of buildings and parks, and the construction of structures for the village, and my students were always the first to volunteer their help and the last to leave the event. The loved interacting with the volunteers and helping in any way they could. Some of the activities they participated in with me were a healthcare building cleanup, a park cleanup, and the construction of a playground for their school. After a morning of teaching, I would return to the biological station for an afternoon of manual labour. I quickly learned that my body was not built for that type of work. I became ill, and was achy and tired for each and every day that I volunteered there, but, nonetheless, it was an incredible experience that I will never forget.

The station did work and research in the areas of sustainable agriculture, agroforestry, and aquaculture. My work included: harvesting, planting and replanting fruit, repairing, setting up, and tearing down barbed wired fences, clearing trails and fields, pruning bamboo trees, harvesting seafood, performing yield estimates in the aquaculture ponds, beach cleanups, and sea turtle monitoring, to name a few. I never thought that I would become so used to using a machete in my day-to-day life! The work was hard and sometimes dangerous, and I was left with the feeling of incompetence daily, since the locals I worked with could complete a task perfectly in minutes that it took me hours to do imperfectly.

Though the work involved hard labour, sweat, achiness, bug bites, animal encounters, and more, it enabled me to experience the countryside in a way that never would have been possible otherwise. During the long hikes through the jungle I saw plants, animals, and stunning views that amazed me. I also gained an appreciation for agricultural labourers and the backbreaking labour they do daily. I had the chance to form friendships with labourers and farmers, and to give them some much needed (if slightly incompetent) help working on their land. I was able to bond with these individuals in addition to my students in the nearby village. I got to experience both worlds. The combination of the two different forms of work was invaluable and I am forever grateful for the opportunity that was given to me to do this work.

Most of all, what I learned while volunteering is not so much that I can help others who are less fortunate, but rather that those less fortunate can help me. I met the most incredible people while I was volunteering. The individuals living in poverty with little education and almost no health care could use my help in some ways, but I had never imagined how much they had to teach me about life. No matter how little they had, they were the most giving individuals I had ever met. No matter how tired they were, they always had energy for a party. No matter who they were, they had time for me. They seemed to love life more than almost anyone I had met in North America. This passion for living was what taught me the most. No matter how much you have or how much you lack, what is important is happiness, family, and friendship. If you have those 3 things (and hopefully good health as well), then you have reached a level of happiness most have not reached and no amount of money can help you attain.

 1 2   Next page »   


You must be logged in to add tags.

Writer Profile

I am a Canadian who is passionate about helping others. I do international development work in Canada and Latin America, and am always trying to find ways to make a difference in the world.

Good experience
Tobias Chitatata Kumwenda | Oct 31st, 2011
I enjoy reading your whole story. I invite you to come to my country Malawi in Africa for charity work.

Vivian Trumblay | Jan 18th, 2010
Having spent time working in the grassroots, non-profit sector in Latin America, I absolutely relate to a lot of what is written here. I really enjoyed reading this!

Constance | Feb 9th, 2010
This was a really good read! Thanks for sharing your experience!

Salisu Umar | Mar 28th, 2010
Nice! U should be lucky, not er'one is opportuned to get the experience you had

Sara Iris Garcia | Apr 26th, 2010
te felicito por tu dedicacion y pasion por lo que haces!

Kaisa Partanen | Oct 7th, 2013
Thanks for sharing your volunteering experiences! I spent myself three months in Mexico volunteering in a rural village, and it was an incredible experience to be able to help and learn from others. Keep up the good work!

Contact the Great Mother
Ella Bruce | Aug 21st, 2017
I made a promise to tell my testimony all over the globe once my man come back to me and my husband came just as Great Mother told me when she helped me. I made the right choice to have contacted Great Mother the great spell caster who is capable of helping you solve your problems. My man left me to suffer and i never believed that he will come back to me again but when i contacted Great Mother she assured me that my man will come again. She gave me some list of items to buy but i could not get them in my country and so i sent her the money and she bought the items and prepared the perfect love spell. My husband ran back to me in 3 days time begging for forgiveness THIS IS SO REAL AND GENUINE. NO SCAMS. I was so surprise that the spell worked just as she told me. This is so amazing and i want you to believe because Great Mother is so real and i urge you contact her now on her email so that she can also help you the way she helped me. Her email is Greatmotherofsolutiontemple@yahoo.com and you can also contact her with her phone number on whats app +2348078359876 you can also check and contact her on Greatmotherofpowers.blogspot.com Greatmotherofsolution.blogspot.com

Disease Cure
Aisha Kun | Feb 29th, 2020
Great Mother is Real... I am Aisha Kun and i want to testify about Great Mother how she cured me of hiv aids. I was diagnosed of this disease some time ago and i was worried. when i was searching the internet looking for a cure, i came across some testimonies of Great Mother how she has helped a lot of people and i decided to contact her on her info and explained to her. She laughed and told me that she will help me and i was surprised. She sent me the cure and it was a spiritual holy oil and water which is more than a medicine. She directed me on how to take it and i did. I took the cure for 3 weeks and i went to the doctor for check up and to my greatest surprise the disease was no longer in my system. I am so glad and i want to thank Great Mother for helping me. Contact her now on her email:  Greatmotherofsolutiontemple1@yahoo.com  you can also reach her on her whatsapp number  +17025514367. If you have any disease, she can help you. Contact her now

You must be a TakingITGlobal member to post a comment. Sign up for free or login.