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  • Writer's pictureEmma Raymond

Libre, me voilà

Updated: May 17, 2022

When I first came here I didn't realise that my life was going to change forever. I come from a big city in France where everything goes so fast that you never have a chance to think about what you want and what you need for yourself. Being 24 I also had a lot of pressure figuring out what to do with my life. But it all changed after only a few weeks here.

Ecuador Dog Volunteering

I remember being so scared of the unknown in the beginning, when in reality I was stepping a foot into a family from all over the world.

Every morning the project is about manual work at El Terreno. During my time here, we planted pole to delimitate the land, dug roadside canals to help evacuate the rain and avoid flooding, also protected the house in construction from the rain.

Volunteering Atandahua Horse

With that type of tasks, I learned I was able to push my limits.

El Terreno Volunteering Ecuador

I also learned about a wonderful permaculture project which is the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

It has really been about helping each other, volunteers and people from the community.

With the personal project I learned I could use what I've been studying for (communication) and what I enjoy in life (such as art) to help a good cause. I helped managing social media, organising and documenting the events and different classes (english, art, cooking).

Children Volunteering Teaching Art

I was beginning to be part of something bigger that I could've ever imagine.

Working with the kids has been especially fulfilling because I really got the feeling to leave a mark in the community, here in Atandahua. We worked on art classes and english classes. I encoutered curious and open minded children with a real desire to learn, to create, to travel.

It is also about helping the local community by building stoves, physiotherapy or speach therapy. The goal is to improve the daily life of members of this community.

During my time here, I was so lucky to meet extraordinary volunteers from Ecuador, Spain, Germany, Belgium, England... I could have never hoped to feel more at home than I did there.

Cultural Exchange Guaranda Ecuador Pizza

El Terreno is a place to grow up, evolve as a person. It is a place full of values such as solidarity, empathy, listening and acceptance. Here I found a path on the journey that is life. Thank you for everything!

As the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard said : "Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom". Now I can say I'm past the anxiety provided by the big city life and I found my freedom here in Ecuador, in Atandahua.

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