Volunteer report from Lorena

Lorena was at the Foundation until the end of 2018. The most important thing she could give to the children was time to listen to them. You can read her report here:

Volunteer report from Lorena

To just be away, gain experience in another culture, and expand my language skills. That was my central thought after graduation. In addition, I wanted to make good use of the time before my studies began and not just waste it. For that, the project Minadores de Sueños was perfect! By reading the numerous reviews, I became more and more enthusiastic about a traineeship and quickly booked a flight. I took on the challenge of being away from home for three months, and for the first time, to be on my own.

My daily tasks at the Foundation included the preparation of the „refrigerio,“ (i.e., a snack in the morning and in the afternoon), working in the garden, taking care of the lunch, and supervising the children as they played in the park or carried out their dental hygiene. However, the main task was to help the children with homework and learning and to promote their academic and social education.

The work at the project was great! It was neither a compulsion nor a necessity for me. Every day, I looked forward to going to work and being greeted with a beaming smile and a „Buenos dias, Señorita Lorena.“ The kids were great too! From the first day, I was greeted by them with open arms and a warm welcome, which I was not used to in Germany.

In addition to learning together, in my opinion, there was also mutual learning. Not only could I pass on my knowledge to the children, I also learned a lot from them. On the one hand, they helped me enormously to improve my Spanish by slowly and clearly explaining or paraphrasing every word I did not understand. Through the intensive work (8 hours a day) and the conversations with the children, I learned a lot about their personalities, their living conditions, and the Ecuadorian culture. Through their openness and quick confidence, I also got an insight into their lives and was shocked to discover what difficult life conditions they have to master. At the same time, it was impressive how strong the children are and with what zest for life and energy they come every day to the Foundation. Because here you can be a child and be met with respect, attention, and dignity.

The moments when a child has finally reached his goal, is overjoyed and proud of himself, and presents his results to you, make you the happiest. If, for example, you are going through 1 × 1 100 times, during the questioning you inwardly feel that this time the child will manage to say everything correctly. Or when you rehearse an English dialogue with a child all morning and he finally gets it and then comes to you proudly every day with the phrase „Hello, what’s your name?“ Many children often doubt themselves at first, and they have to be encouraged to work hard on their task.

Over time, as a volunteer, I took on more and more responsibility. And I do not mean that I should be the bank at Monopoly every time. Instead, I was always allowed to work independently with the children, giving them their own tasks and instructions. It felt useful and needed. In addition to the benefits of being „profe,” however, I enjoyed most the direct contact and active moments with the children. It didn’t matter if I played football with the boys at the sports field, braided each other’s hair with the girls, played UNO together every day, or played German gossip games with the children, which they were so enthusiastic about that they tried to  memorize the text.

I realized that the most beautiful gift you could give the children was time. Time spent playing with them, learning with and supporting them, talking to them, paying attention to them. These were all things that they did not get from their family environment.

It was a wonderful three-and-a-half months that I will always remember. A big thank you goes to Marco and Alba as well as to the whole team! But above all, I thank the children, whom I will always carry in my heart and will never forget. Through them I learned a lot and will be able to take a lot of it into my life in Germany. Thank you for this unforgettable time!