Damian´s house

I was really glad to have had a second opportunity to visit that amazing house. The people there are so greatful for everything they have. They act like they´re living in a mansion and have the best lives; they are kind hearted, happy, hard working individuals who lead a fulfilling life. Most importantly they thank God for everything they have.

It was hilarious, I naively asked what they do during the day and they looked at me like I was stupid. ´we work!´One lady exclaimed. For work they make arts and crafts and sell them to their visitors. I was really happy to learn that they get to keep the money from the sale since the residents live on only $40 a month. $40 a month doesn´t get you much even in Ecuador. The trinkets, hammocks, bags and the like are sold to make extra money which allows the residents to buy luxuries like ice cream. When someone from our group pulled two $20´s out of their walltet Lizz (a 12 month volunteer) was shocked to see that much money.

Lizz´s shock made me think. Yes we are staying in this developing country and are helping out; however, we still have way more wealth then most people here. In order to fully comprehend the cultural differences here compared to Canada we would have to live and work here for an extended period of time. Lizz and the other volunteers have been there for 10 months already (making no money), in two months they return home. The cultural shock for them will be far greater then anything we will experience. Knowing this makes me really want to live abroad for a year working or volunteering but more importantly learning, experiencing and helping.

Anyways back to Damian´s house. The institution previously was just dirt and water. It is part of the infectious disease hopsital and it was dirt and water. Now imagine a hospital in Canada that had dirty beds and the uproar that follows, and this whole wing of the hospital was in terrible shape. Due to the help of a lady named Ann, Damian´s house developed into something beautiful and amazing and it has become a home to many people .

The volunteers have and do incredible work there; without a doubt the place wouldn´t function without them there. The volunteers are extremely kind and sincere and are there because they want to be there, not because someone forced them to do it. They have given an entire year to helping out. I found that incredible and I don´t know if i could do that.

Justin Versteeg