Written by Salome Bossard from Switzerland; Volunteer from January to March 2011
The foundation „Minadores de Sueños“is located in the South/East of Quito, away from civilization. Well, not quite so bad, but I do feel a little like in the countryside. There’s only one real street in the quarter “Rancho los Pinos” and it doesn’t exist since very long. Otherwise we just have mogul slopes and muddy paths. The project lies of course not next to the main street. When dry, this is not a big problem. However after/ during heavy rains, it’s nearly impossible to leave the project. A muddy hike by foot is just possible, with a car however you have some serious problems. What do you do in a emergency situation? E.g. an accident among the children? They don’t wait for sunshine to run around like crazy and do the stupiest things. You must be able to react fast
Marco Nyffeler, the head of the project, decided to construct a stone street. Some parts are already finished and we hope that everything is finished soon. The Problem is as usual the money. Stones and workers also cost in Ecuador, right? The foundation engaged an 80 years old man, José Antonio Llerena, 8.4.1930. The construction of stone streets is more than just his job; it’s like his mission. He works more or less 8 hours per day. Why? Without work, also in his high age, he couldn’t survive. He gets a small rent of about 30 dollars per month. That’s nothing, not even in Ecuador you can live on that. He doesn’t have a family as far as I know. The Kids are grown up and live in other parts of the city/ the country. They don’t have money either and an own family.
Such a street is quite expensive. Señor José Antonio Llerena gets 2$ for one square meter. Therefore there are days he doesn’t earn anything as he doesn’t get paid for the hours but for the results. The street is going to be 2.5meters wide and about 600 m long. The whole street costs therefore about 3’000$, without material. The city council donates the stones but you have to wait for them for a long time and it costs a lot of patience. “Many times I thought it would have been better to buy the stones myself, would be faster. “-Marco Nyffeler.
My grandfather and turned 80 at the 15th march, 2011. On the occasion of his 80th birthday he donated to the foundation “Minadores de Sueños”. From 80 to 80, that was the message behind this gift. Two man, couldn’t be any different. One is from the lowest class from South America, the other a manager of an insurance company. Thank you very much. You really helped us a lot. This street isn’t only helpful in emergencie but also brought new life in our quarter. On Sundays you can hear cars at 7 o’ clock in the morning. Who wants to change his gas bottles? “In such moments I wish this street wouldn’t exist.” means Marco Nyffeler. You can see that this street is enrichment in many parts. Building this street took us more than a year. We are slowly getting to the end. The locals of “Rancho los Pinos” have to maintain it after finishing. Marco Nyffeler doesn’t wan it to be „his“ street. They have to take on responsibility.
Dear friends of the foundation Minadores de Sueños
For the new year we wish to bring you our 2010 annual report. As every year, we have got news to tell you, so please enjoy reading this new yearly report.
We are very grateful for your support, only with your help we can go on with our dreams and work with the children from the community.
December 5th is the international day of the volunteers. Minadores de Sueños very much appreciate the work of the national and international volunteers, because they make the project happen. Without their daily work we would never achieve the same as we can achieve with them. The volunteers are a wonderful gift. Therefore we wanted to listen to Laure, our actual volunteer from France, about her motivation and experience.
Laure Bailly, 26 years old
My motivations to do volunteer work are probably the same as most people’s; wanting to help, to contribute to make the world a little better and hopefully to make myself a little better as an individual. I do believe that I am priviledged to have been born in the conditions that are mine, and it seems fair to me to give some of my time and energy to people less priviledged. I also thought this would be good for my career. I am a teacher and I have spent the last three years working in a school where children came from a very well-to-do background. I wanted to experience and confront myself to a completely different, harsher reality. I chose to work at Minadores de Sueños because I thought I was qualified for this kind of job, and the foundation looked really serious to me. My main tasks are to help children with homework, to organise games and to teach English. I am thoroughly enjoying my exerience at the foundation and I think I am also greatly benefiting from it. The children are absolutely wonderful. They are very willing to please. They are greatful for what you do for them and the attention you give them. They get very attached to you and you get very attached to them. Working at Minadores de Sueños, I feel needed and appreciated. Also, the people who work at the foundation are very conscientious and they are good pedagogues. They care a lot about the children and are always ready to give them support, in any aspect of their life and development. Obviously, there are also some challenges in this work. For various economical and social reasons, lots of these children are completely neglected by their family. It is heart breaking to hear some of their personal stories and to see how they crave for any mark of attention and any kind of recognition. Moreover, some of the children who come to the foundation have serious learning difficulties, and they are the children volunteers mostly work with. It takes a lot of patience and good-will to work with these children. Added to that, many children come to us not understanding their work at all because it has not been explained to them properly, or because they have not done the necessary preparation work in class to be able to complete it. As a result, you often have several children needing your help at once, which does feel very overwhelming at times. In my opinion, the foundation could do with a few more workers or volunteers because so many of the children would benefit from full attention and constant support. As a whole, it is a very positive experience that has taught me a lot about children, pedagogy, and life in general.