Subject: My homework Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 18:12:43 GMT


I consider important to tell you some things about our program.

1. It is important that you know that we are an small organization and we work in a informal basis. That means that we are not a legal registered organization as a Foundation or some thing like that. The reason is that is the only way to maintain a low cost program fees. We are the cheapest program in Ecuador and this is the only way to offer this. We don't have paid workers, we don't have office or properties. I have all the administrative job and internet information service and my wife has the operational coordination job in the schools and with the volunteers when they are here. School principals and teacher participate only in the aspects related to their own schools but they don't participate in the intern administrative aspects. When people wants a big organization with a famous name and large groups, we are not the option.

2. It is also important that you know that we expect that you are able to work in group or isolated. Some volunteers come with the idea of meeting other volunteers from other countries and make friends and they become disappointed when they find that the other
volunteers decided not to come and they have to stay alone some weeks while other volunteers comes. We have a program with a very high interaction with local people but we can not guarantee that there will be other volunteers near you. It is curious that some volunteers wants to learn Spanish and to immerse in the local culture but when they arrive they only ask for the foreign volunteers and only wants to speak in English. If you really want
to know the country and the local people and other volunteers are not important you will have a good time.

3. The must difficult thing to explain to future volunteers is that you have to change something in your mind about the program. You live and work in developed countries and you are accustomed to planning things with many time in advance and you are sure that things will happen as you planned. But here things are very different.
It is not easy to plan because all may change sudendly. For example, in January there was a coupe d-etat and the president and gouvernment changes. In april the gouvernement changed the local courrency and now we are
usung us dollars as local courrency but they are many social and economic problems and all prices are rising.
In May the teachers union went to strike and all the public schools went closed for more than two months. Not all because the schools where we have volunteers they asked us to continue because they dont want to lose
the volunteers help. Maybe for you is not difficult understand this because you have previous experience in Africa.

We have one or two projects where we think you can work but maybe one month before your arrival they decide not to continue or maybe they expect that you are here to see if you are going to bring a lot of money and when they see thay you only wants to help and to work they become without interest. It is very important not to imagine a lot of thing and is better to be here to see things in a real manner.


4. But me and my wife we are sure that always, no matter the circounstances, we are offering a very important opportunities and that if you have an open mind you can have a wonderful experience. Our actual volunteers says that they are having a real experience and that they are surprised how sometimes we do more things than the
large and famous organizations. We have enough experience and knowlwdge to adjust to dificult situation and always we find a solution to last minute problems.

Berengere, please read this slowly and meditate on it. It is important. I expect a complete copy (reply) with your agreement. But if you are not sure or you have a different idea about what you want don't hesitate and tell me that you are not interested in continuing and I will return your money by the same way.

If I receive your agreement I have still more things to say in another message.



Sincerely,

Gonzalo