Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Find out more about Montanita Spanish School?!

Hola amigos de Montanita Spanish School,

besides the volunteering blog the school also has a blog for activities and trips. If you want to learn more about the daily school life, check out this one:


Marcel's volunteering time in the Aquarium

We are proud to say that we are working with the only Aquarium on the coastline, which is located only 20 minutes away from Montanita by bus. This Aquarium is an animal rescue center, and they are doing an amazing job helping out the Ecuadorian wildlife by giving them medical treatment and then realizing them into the wild. In December our good friend and long-term student Marcel seized the oportunity to spend three weeks at the Aquarium. In the morning hours he worked with the animals, by helping out the local staff with feeding, giving them medicine, cleaning them etc.

Estamos orgullosos de decir que estamos trabajando con el único acuario en la costa, que se encuentra a sólo 20 minutos de Montañita en autobús. Este acuario es un centro de rescate de animales, y están haciendo un trabajo increíble ayudando a la fauna ecuatoriana, dándoles el tratamiento médico y librandolos luego en el medio natural. En diciembre nuestro buen amigo y alumno Marcel aprovechó la oportunidad de pasar tres semanas en el acuario. En las horas de la mañana trabajó con los animales, ayudó al personal local con la alimentación, dándoles la medicina, la limpieza de ellos, etc.

According to Marcel he really enjoyed his time of volunteering, although there have been some long days with volunteering in the morning and Spanish lessons till 7pm. The work itself was interesting and new to him and moreover it was a great boost for his Spanish.

Según Marcel él realmente disfrutó de su tiempo de voluntariado, aunque ha habido algunos días largos con el voluntariado en la mañana y clases de español hasta las 7pm. El trabajo en sí era interesante y nuevo para él y, además, fue un gran impulso para su español.

Thanks a lot Marcel for your great commitment. We hope you had a great time and will recommend it to other students!

Muchas gracias Marcel por tu gran compromiso. Esperamos que hayas tenido un gran momento y que lo recomendes a otros estudiantes!

The aquarium recently moved within Valdivia and nowadays has even better equipment. Take the chance and be the next aquarium volunteer! 

El acuario recientemente mudado dentro de Valdivia y ahora tiene aún mejor equipo. Aproveche la oportunidad, que seas el próximo voluntario acuario!

Kung Fu!

Mini-Volunteers in action!

For everyone who missed the third week of our legendary sports class with the little kids at the primary school in Montanita, here you will find some impressions:

Kung Fu - Montanita Spanish School

Our lovely and committed Kung Fu teacher Patrick made that week possible. Although he had four hours of Spanish a day and on top two hours surfing, he agreed to teach the little ones in the primary school.

It's not clear who is draging who to the classroom.
How far do you get? ;)
It wasn't easy to get the kids in three lines...
Anne! :)

Kids from higher grades helped us out.
Muchas gracias Patrick for your help and all the patience with the kids! 

For everyone who wants to find out more about this great Kung Fu master who is able to teach 40 ecuadorian kids at once:

Jump Rope for Montañita

Volunteer commitment!
The time has come for another volunteer week at the primary school in Montanita. After playing frisbee last time, this time we wanted to try something new, a simple sport that every child knows or should know at least. In physical education in primary schools in Germany, I think the majority of children have tried skipping and learnt the basic movements. When I planned the week with skipping, I assumed more or less the same for the kids in Ecuador. That's why the students and I considered many games, which only require the basics. On Monday, we quickly realized that some children are not accustomed to exercise and their coordination is not the best, therefore we practiced the basics with them. We switched classes every day, so every lesson was very different. Some kids for example had learnt jump rope with their teacher the last year, so we played some funny and advanced games with them.

Besides the photos don’t miss out on the video we took during the lesson!

What do you think about the movie? Keen to join us the next time?!

Let's get back to the beginning. Where would you normally buy ropes for skipping? - Sports outfitters, shopping mall or supermarket? In Montanita or nearby we have none of these...Therefore I went to Manglaralto to buy really long and basic ropes in a "Ferreteria". Just cut them and melt the viola!

Like in the first volunteering week we had different classes of various ages, starting with the 5th grade on Monday. At the beginning the lesson always has a little bit of "trial & error". You never know the skills and attitude of the kids and neither how difficult the games might be.

Toni explaning the basics.
Abbey just dropped by the school and became a last-minute-volunteer!
On the left: Felix. He speaks German, English and Spanish and helped a lot!
High five!
The willingness of our students to help was as always enormous! One must not forget that many skip their lunch break to help.

Little kids love Toni!
Marcel & the pros.
Also wanna jump? - We sure do!
Chad & the girl gang.
Three out of four, fair enough!
This is not what it looks like... ;-)

Max and Sarah!
Gunnar & his group.
Una sonrisa porfa.
Happiness. (-:
High five!
Limbo contest got out of hand!
It was an amazing week, for the students, the kids at the school, and me as well, which encourages me to organize more volunteering weeks and try other sports with the kids. It’s also fun to walk through Montanita when the little ones recognize you on the street and shout out your name.  

Los voluntarios!

Make sure you're part of the next volunteering week. You might get famous in a short video clip as these students are! 

Besos, Michael

Ultimate Frisbee in Ecuador!

Frisbee around the world!

First things first, I love Ultimate Frisbee! In Germany, my home country, this magnificent sport enjoys nationwide popularity, kind of in the same way football does. Well, not quite, but any Ultimate player would confirm it immediately! Once I decided to spend some time in Ecuador I checked, a page which shows frisbee action worldwide, to see what was going on in Ecuador. Sadly I saw that Ultimate Frisbee isn't the most common sport in Ecuador, surprise surprise. Giving up Frisbee for a couple of months was definitely not an option for me, unless say I got hit by a truck.

Hence, the next question was: how can I establish it as Ecuador´s national sport within a few short months?! Our open-minded students are always keen for sports and action, so one afternoon we kicked-off an excellent game of Ultimate with the students of the Spanish school. It was a great afternoon and many of them showed some astonishing Frisbee skills, though this wouldn´t satisfy my Frisbee hunger for long, as most students leave Ecuador after a few weeks. I needed a change of strategy! What do you do to establish Ultimate on a long-term basis? You get the youth involved! We would start at the bottom with the little kids in Montanita!

Montanita Spanish School offers some appealing volunteering options like working in a hospital or assisting in a kindergarden. To expand that offer, and for something a little easier, I organized a collaboration with the local primary school in Montanita to teach the kids, you guessed it, Ultimate Frisbee!
Primary school in Montanita
In the school here there are usually between 27 and 49 children in a class. Handling this alone seemed like a Herculean task, so I started my search for volunteers. The feedback was extraordinary! Within a few hours I had 10 students who wanted to join.

What a catchy board! - Pulled at least one or two extra volunteers!
Monday morning came faster than expected, but, nevertheless, we were well prepared!

Waiting for the lesson to begin...
We started with the 4th grade class of 47 (forty-seven!!!) children on Monday. As soon as we entered the schoolyard we were consumed by a bunch of yelling and screaming kids from all sides - it felt just like a Justin Bieber concert. Since we were 10 volunteers we formed groups of four to five, gathered ourselves together and explained the basics of Frisbee in Spanish! :)

Toni taking care of the photos!
Who wants to play Frisbee?!
Escuchen: This is a Frisbee!
The schoolyard looking a little emptier than usual.
Follow his lead!
Magnificent teamwork by Dennis & Lina
We learned the theory, let's play!
sandwich catch #1
Ross is going for the long distance!
Sarah making use of her teaching skills.
You won't get that disc!
6th grade - last Friday
6th grade from Wednesday in some years!
sandwich catch #1

Lotte y las niñas!
one 'n one coaching.
Sashy, born to be a teacher.
Lots of love <3
True story.
Splendid teamwork by Dennis & Lina
How to catch properly!
sandwich catch #2
Sashy & the girl gang

We save the forehand throw for the next volunteer week!
What is my conclusion of the past week? I worked with little kids before, even as a coach for sport, but this week was tough! We were facing groups up to 47 children between eight and 12 years old and had to deal with the rather small schoolyard, which was packed during the lessons. It has proven itself to split up the class in little groups of four to five children and especially to separate boys and girls. Apparently they don't like to play together at that age. The effort of our students was outstanding! As far as I can tell, the little kids in the school loved to play frisbee with us and so did we. Students got really creative about inventing new games with the disc. At the end of the week Montanita Spanish School donated some Frisbees to the local school, so they can continue playing on their own. One thing is for sure: We will definitely do the volunteering week again. Maybe there is a chance to introduce the forehand throw! All in all I am one step closer to establish Ultimate Frisbee as national sport in Ecuador. Stay tuned!

Thursday volunteers part one
Amazing volunteers of last Wednesday
Thursday volunteers part two

Great fun guys!

Besos, Michael