Hello from Puerto Rico which is located on the Ecuadorian Coast between Montanita and Puerto Lopez. We are a group of 23 volunteers, 21 from England, one from Scotland and one from Germany. We are in Ecuador to volunteer and develop the infrastructure of the small community.

So far our work has been very interesting and diverse. During the first 6 days we completed the project of building a new septic tank for the local school as the old one was broken. It turned out to be very hard work. The first step was to dig out the hole in which the tank would be placed. After this, we cemented the foundation of the tank which had to dry over night. On the following day, we started to build up the walls by carrying bricks to the workplace and creating cement. Señor Maestro‰ who was our supervisor and some of us were in the pit to set up the wall brick by brick. Once the walls were high enough, we created a roof by using bamboo and cement. In order to connect the tank to the existing pipe system, we had to dig a trench for the new pipes. It turned out to be very hard work as we even had to destroy concrete by using a sledgehammer. However, now that the tank is finished we can be very proud. Despite the hard work, it was still fun and gave us a good feeling because we were able to see a result. The combination of team effort mixed with good music made it enjoyable all the same!

Simultaneously, the other part of our group worked in the organic garden of the community. This garden was created to grow plants for both reforestation and profit generation for the families of the community. We picked and planted a LOT of coffee plants (20,400 to be precise!) as well as 2550 plants for ornamental purposes.

After the septic tank was finished, we started a new project in the community of Las Tunas (just down the coast from Camp Costa). The school needs a new fence and the playground needs some renovation. We are absolutely sure to finish this project as well in our remaining time in Camp Costa.

These are the main projects so far. Three other tasks that were not as time-consuming as the big projects were teaching English in the school of Puerto Rico, the maintenance of the school‰’s playground and the painting of signs that should remind the locals of saving energy and water. Four volunteers were teaching English in two classes. Lesson planning was fun, creating a lot of colorful resources. Despite the limited levels of English, the experience was really rewarding and the children‰’s enthusiasm was inspiring. And they were adorable!

Painting skills were tested again as we refurbished another playground. It‰’s really nice seeing the kids playing on their new equipment, as you can see your hard work paying off.

Furthermore, we did a few beach cleans, removing litter that has been washed up by the ocean. All along the beach there are triangular zones marked out where turtles have laid their eggs. A few of the girls spotted a baby turtle heading to the sea on their early morning beach run- amazing! Again, it is nice to see the difference that your work is making to the local community. It‰’s surprising how much litter gets deposited on the beach!

Apart from the work, we enjoy our time in the camp and late afternoons on the beach. It feels great to help the community and to see the results of our work and how much the locals appreciate our presence. We enjoy the time in Ecuador, the food and the friendly people. Last but not least we would like to thank our Camp Manager Paola and her assistant Fernando who are doing a great job and we really appreciate their work and their time. Muchas gracias para su paciencia y tiempo!