VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FROM LATE AUGUST 2017 ONWARDS.
Are you passionate about INDIGENOUS CULTURE and SOCIAL JUSTICE?
Do you want to have an UNIQUE EXPERIENCE deep in the HEART OF THE AMAZON?
Do you want to REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE in one of the most ISOLATED and BEAUTIFUL places in the world?
Do you want to HELP children LEARN ENGLISH and LITERACY?
If so, then this is the volunteering program you were looking for and you are the one we want.
We are looking for an experienced, self-reliant and flexible English, Literacy and/or Primary teacher for a unique volunteer position living and working in an extremely remote indigenous village, deep in the interior of the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest.
The Achuar are a proud people who are currently engaged in a number of political struggles for autonomy over their rainforest (against oil prospectors) and their waterways. They have established ecotourism projects as an alternative to selling their territory, and they want to learn English to work with the tourists, as well as to publicise their struggles internationally. The kids are also struggling in riding and writing, so we would like to offer them a chance to improve there level.
We are an Anglo-French couple who have been in touch with the Achuar to organise this project, it offers its volunteers the keys to a lovely house with a unique view of the Pastaza River. You will find most of the basic commodities and resources to cook, relax and live in the jungle.
The village is deep inside the Amazon rainforest, with only motorised canoes for transport. You must take a small jetplane in and out of Achuar territory (approximately $25 each way), since there are no roads. There is currently no mains electricity or running water in the community. We use solar panels and rainwater instead.
You will teach the children of the remote Amazonian community of Suwa in their primary school. You will have a humble classroom, equipped with the necessary furniture, with 39 students from (approximately) 4-14 years old.
As a teacher, you are invited by the Achuar to work with their children, so that the next generation may become tourist guides, explaining to visitors the breadth of their culture, as well as the copious wildlife and plantlife of the jungle. The Achuar is a very special and particular group, with many customs, values and perspectives that will be enlightening but also very different to what we associate with the West.
Details such as class sizes and your weekly timetable will be prone to change, so you will need to show some flexibility in this regard. However, we expect there to only be one mixed-age class, who will almost definitely all be absolute beginners in English.
You will find basic resources and materials for the classroom, but you can bring your own materials to compliment what is there if you want. The classes with the children should be adapted to their needs and abilities: you will not (as of July 2015) have any electricity to use or much in the way of resources, printing, etc, but you will have the jungle all around you to stimulate the children’s imagination.
A good teacher will manage to make use of what the children and adults know to help them find what they need to know. They will observe their routines and rhythms, their histories, tales and rituals, and they will employ all of this to foster a curiosity and mental development that equips the children for high school, and life.
English (fluent) and Spanish (competent - please do not apply if you do not speak Spanish!)
You will be living in a wooden cabin (spacious kitchen, 2 bedrooms, a large front room with a porch) in a tiny village (population 69) in territory belonging to the Achuar indigenous people, and working in the village primary school for a MINIMUM PERIOD OF 2 MONTHS. We will provide cooking equipment (including for cooking outside over a fire), as well as materials to collect water.
There is no mains electricity in the village so you will be reliant on the solar powered equipment in the house, and on occasion, the village’s petrol-powered generator will be turned on. There is no running water either, although there is a water tank to collect rainwater and a flush toilet in the school. Also, remember that once you board the plane in Shell (8km from Puyo, Pastaza province, the last city before the jungle bush), it is difficult to get anything else in from outside.
Communication: Internet is available at the Kapawi Lodge, approximately one hour in boat from Suwa, the community is willing to take you there once a week. In the event of emergencies, every village has a CB radio to communicate with other villages and the outside world. There is no telephone reception, although you will spot the occasional house equipped with satellite TV.
Please note that we request a 2 month minimum commitment to Suwa! In addition to this, please add 14 days onto your itinerary, 7 days either side of entering and leaving Suwa, to account for preparing to go in, organising the journey, and waiting for the next available plane back to the city.
*️️ In Ecuador, you get 90 days on your entrance stamp upon arrival . Longer stays are also possible at a cost.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
The area is incredibly beautiful, and the experience of living in a genuine Amazonian village will be unforgettable - you won’t come away feeling the same. This is a chance to live with and alongside the Achuar, and enjoy something that is totally different to the grindstone of Western urban life.
You will have your own vegetable patch to maintain alongside the children and you will be invited on fishing and hunting expeditions. There are also constant traditional parties and ceremonies which you can experience and you will be invited to visit neighbouring communities.
And, of course, being in the Amazon, there is also an astonishing amount of wildlife and some excellent hiking opportunities on weekends.
Maximum 4 hours a day, 5 days a week
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