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Ecuador: La Sierra

Project Information Packet (PIP)

Click here to download the Project Information Packet (PIP).

Project Specific FAQs

Itinerary and Activities

  • While there are no overnight homestays on this project, will volunteers still have the opportunity to interact with local community members?
    • The partner agencies that AMIGOS works with are very integrated into local communities, so there will definitely be times to meet and spend time with community members.   
  • Will we have free time to explore the places we are visiting? 
    • There will be designated time for excursions throughout the project and some free time to explore surrounding areas.   
  •   What AMIGOS staff will be supervising the La Sierra Project?  
    • Each AMIGOS Project is staffed by a Project Director, a Health and Safety Coordinator, and 2-3 Project Coordinators depending on the number of volunteers on the project.  
  • How many volunteers in total should we expect on this project?
    • On this AMIGOS Project, there will be about 20 volunteers.
  • What is the best way for volunteers to manage phones for travel purposes? 
    • While volunteers are expected to refrain from technology use on the project site, we do encourage phone use when traveling in airports to communicate with AMIGOS staff regarding your travels. 
  • When should families expect to receive flight information?
    • Flight information will be sent out at least two weeks prior to volunteer departure. AMIGOS will book all flights for volunteers.
  • Are tickets booked from a volunteer's home airport, or does a volunteer need to travel to Houston on their own?
    • All tickets for AMIGOS volunteers are booked from their home airports. For the La Sierra Project, all volunteers will be booked through IAH (Houston), where they'll have a layover and meet the other volunteers on their project before traveling on the same international flight from IAH - UIO (Houston, Texas to Quito, Ecuador). From Quito, they will join a Project Staff member and fly to Cuenca, Ecuador. 

Packing

  •  What do you recommend packing in terms of luggage? 
    • We recommend bringing a full-sized backpacking-style backpack (75 liters recommended) as well as a standard carry-on backpack. If you don't have a backpacking-style pack, we'd recommend a duffle bag. It would be difficult to travel with a roller suitcase, as volunteers may need to carry their own luggage.
  •  What temperature sleeping bag do you recommend packing? 
    • We recommend a sleeping rated to at least 30 degrees F but ideally rated to 0 degrees F if possible.  
  •  Do they need a backpack that also can accommodate the sleeping bag? 
    • We would recommend a backpack that can securely attach the sleeping bag on the bottom.   
  • Will volunteers need to bring any money? 
    • We recommend bringing some money for food in the airports and optionally some for souvenirs, but volunteers should likely bring no more than $50-100 USD.    
  • Should volunteers pack a digital camera if they have one?
    • Yes! We recommend bringing a digital camera to document memories!

Lodging

  •  What are the lodging accommodations like for this project? What are the temperatures like in this specific region of Ecuador? 
    • Temperatures range from 45-65 degrees F during the day and can get as low as 20 degrees F at night. Volunteers will be staying in lodging sites with no central heating system so nights can definitely get a bit cold. We highly recommend bringing many layers to stay warm as temperatures cool as well as a minimum 30 degrees F sleeping bag for nighttime (see above). 

Health & Safety

  • Do you recommend the rabies vaccine for Ecuador: La Sierra Project?
    • Historically, AMIGOS has had one animal exposure requiring post-exposure vaccinations per 500-700 volunteers across all projects meaning that the risk is very low. There is no increased risk of rabies exposure on the La Sierra project in particular. We recommend discussing the risks and benefits of the rabies vaccination series with your volunteer's primary care provider for any volunteer-specific vaccination questions. 
  • The Health & Safety Webinar recommended mosquito repellent for certain AMIGOS locations. Is the La Sierra Project at too high of an altitude to have many mosquitos?
    • While the La Sierra project is at altitude where there are fewer mosquitos, we still recommend bringing at least a small amount of mosquito repellent for excursions to lower altitude locations. 
  • What is the quarantine period for volunteers upon arrival to Ecuador?
    • Volunteers will be quarantined in "mini pods" with 3-5 other volunteers for the first 3 days of the program. During this time, they can interact with their mini pod without masks, and can interact with the whole group with masks and physical distancing. Once volunteers test negative for COVID-19 on day 3, they may interact freely with all project volunteers and staff for the duration of the program.  
  • What should parents expect communication-wise during the project?
    • No news is good news! Expect minimal communication from your volunteer. If a situation arises, project staff and/or AMIGOS Headquarters staff will contact families.