The Achuar community of Kusutkau are a small rainforest community located deep within the Ecuadorian Amazon intending to preserve their culture and way of life through a nearby Eco-tourism project reliant on English speaking guides.
Through teaching English to the youth within the community you will be helping them to potentially work with tourists in the future and to build a future based on Eco-tourism which offers a sustainable alternative to oil extraction, playing a part in the cultural and environmental preservation of Achuar culture! You will also be giving them an understanding of cultures outside of the community, which can help them in their efforts to manage the pressures of globalisation.
This Project has been developed over the past two years and is born out of personal experience living and working with the community of Kusutkau and a strong desire on behalf of the community for English education and the development of a volunteer English project.
The community can be reached by a light aircraft, an incredible 25 minute journey over the rainforest canopy (at a cost of $25 per flight) with transport within the community by paddle or motorised canoes along the winding Amazonian network of rivers!
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Volunteers will be able to experience the unique way of life of a welcoming indigenous Amazonian community by living closely with the community and playing an important and respected role in the community as the school´s English teacher.
The Achuar ´cosmovision´ or world view is extremely fascinating based on a deep understanding and respect of the natural environment and a spirituality oriented around dreams and visions. Volunteers will be able to learn more about this through discussions with community members who are more than happy to talk about their way of life and beliefs with regards to the rainforest and natural environment.
In many ways participating in and observing daily life will give you the greatest insight allowing you to form a deeper unserstanding of indigenous, Achuar culture.
Also, this placement offers a challenging and rewarding teaching experience do to the creativity required to teach with relatively limited resources and to students from a vastly different way of life.
It also offers the opportunity to gain experience on the ground of a small-scale charity working in the field of International Development.
Volunteers must have a good level of Spanish and be native or near native in English!!!
This volunteer placement is suited to a passionate, determined and independent English teacher who would relish the authentic experience of living in an indigenous, rainforest community, and the opportunity to learn about this community´s relationship with nature.
The community require somebody to take two classes per day at both primary and secondary level, teaching beginner english to students aged between 5-12 and 12-18 with the support of Angel, the school´s Director, and Jacob, the primary school teacher.
Teachers will be provided with some resources, such as a core text book for the secondary level students and worksheets for the primary school level, however, you will also be expected to bring some of your own resources and ideas to the lessons. The primary school children are energetic so games, songs and all types of activities can make lessons enjoyable and engaging. An awareness of the students environment and understanding of their culture can be used in the lessons, to teach them vocabulary based on the rainforest and the experiences in community life for example.
There may also be some parents within the community who ask for a few one to one classes as they are also keen to spend time with the volunteer teachers to both learn about your way of life and improve their English.
Volunteers are encouraged to take part in all aspects of community life to gain a real understanding of Achuar culture and establish a good connection with this warm and welcoming community. This may involve working in the communal ´mingas´ (group work sessions), helping the woman in their ´chakras´ (cultivated areas) or going fishing! These are all great experiences and really good fun!
Accomodation: You will be living in a large wooden cabin, which is a former classroom with the option of sleeping in a bed with a matress and mosquito net or, if prefered, to pitch a tent inside the cabin and sleep on your own sleeping matt. The community are currently hoping to raise funds to refurbish a building which will be especially for volunteers, although the current accomodation is comfortable and spacious.
Communication: Volunteers can use the internet in the neaby Eco Lodge, a 40 minute canoe ride away, once a week.
Food: volunteers will have the choice whether to cook and eat their own food (basic supplies such as rice, pasta, oil etc are currently in community ready for volunteer) or to eat the food prepared by the community. All meal preparation will be done over a wood burning fire with the help of families within the community.
Water: Volunteers will be advised to take a filtered water bottle or sterilising tablets although there will be fresh, safe rain water available to drink.
Additional items such as fresh vegetables, sauces etc. can be brought in by the volunteer and can be arranged to be brought in for volunteers staying for longer periods of time.
Volunteers are required to take a basic first aid kit and are advised to take Malaria tablets .
Volunteers will be sent a detailed information pack with further information of equipment required about living and helping in the community, and the opportunity to talk more extensively about all aspects of the placement over Skype.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 2-4 hours a day, 5 days a week