Everything has been flowing seamlessly with Manna and I am having an incredible time in Ecuador. Finally had a slower day today and just thought I’d provide a brief update about the work I’ve been doing and what I’m expecting moving forward. Shortly after arrival, orientation, and some preliminary tours of the surrounding area and nearby Quito, responsibilities and special projects were delegated to each intern. I have been tasked with conducting my own intermediate level English class two days a week to help lighten the workload of one of our program directors. Although I don’t have any prior teaching experience, after just a couple of sessions on my own, I really do feel at home in the classroom and confident that pursuing a career in education will be right for me. Although the language barrier is tough to work around, the students comprehend English surprisingly well, and have such a conspicuous and pervasive sense of appreciation for simply having the opportunity to be able to learn the language. Many of the highest paying professions and careers here require full English fluency, so many families go to great lengths to ensure their children develop an understanding early on, and continue practicing throughout their adolescence. This has made the position all the more fulfilling for me as I get to play a small, yet crucial role in preparing these young minds for their futures and hopefully help shape them into ones that allow them and their families to escape this beautiful country’s more grim underlying problems of poverty and income inequality. I also get to spend time with kids in our teen center and library, assist at nearby grade schools, and work with a college class at a local public university, once a week. This has been the best part about the work so far as I do hope to someday teach at that level, and it’s awesome to see how much I have in common with groups of young people around my age, even those who live half a world away.
Additionally, I definitely feel my conversational Spanish is improving (ever so slightly though) each day I am here. As I anticipated, 8 weeks here will definitely not be enough to master the language or be at the level of fluency I desire to be a more capable and effective communicator with those who speak Spanish. On the bright side though, this has only strengthened my resolve and motivation to try and secure a Peace Corps position in Latin America after my time in Ecuador. I may also look to working in Spain for a longer period of time to ensure I leave with the ability to hold most basic and intermediate conversations in Spanish.
I could never thank you, your family, and your organization enough for the experience I feel so fortunate and privileged to have been afforded here, but thank you so much again.