23-year-old Springfield, Massachusetts Resident Teaches English to Needy Children in Ecuador

Dec. 7, 2006 – Erin Duffy left the United States in April 2006 in order to spend a year to work in an elementary school in Tonsupa, Ecuador. She teaches English and cultural fisica (physical education). For grades 2-7, there are a total of three teachers, each in charge of a pair of grades in one classroom. The walls of the school are made of bamboo with dirt floors and an outhouse for a bathroom. Before her trip, Erin was fortunate to gather four large boxes full of donations, which she recently distributed to her students.

Here is what Erin thinks about her experience in Ecuador with United Planet:

“This is absolutely a once in a lifetime experience. I really wanted to do something for someone in the world who wasn’t born into the same fortunate circumstances as we were. Nobody asks to be born into poverty. As much as we like to think we are giving something to the people here, we are receiving so much more. We have been welcomed with open arms and are absolutely enjoying every minute.”

What has she learned so far? First of all, Erin improved her Spanish right away! Working with so many children, she has also learned to be much more patient. In Ecuador, people live at a different pace than in the United States… Her host father says “time is not running,” and that is certainly the case according to Erin. Erin has learned so much about the culture and the people of Ecuador as well as the intricacies of how to teach English as a foreign language in Spanish. Most of all, she has learned that a little bit of kindness can go a long way.

Erin had to face the challenging cultural differences, especially related to the language. This experience is important to her because she is gaining more perspective on her own life every day, while being able to give something to the people here. She was greeted with smiles everywhere she went. “There’s so much more to life and happiness than I ever could have imagined before this trip.”

As featured on CNN, United Planet is a leading international, educational, humanitarian, and peace-building, non-profit organization with members and volunteers in over 150 countries The mission of United Planet is to foster cross-cultural understanding and friendship, support communities in need, and promote social & economic prosperity among cultures in order to unite the world in a community beyond borders.

United Planet Quests provide a meaningful opportunity for both skilled and unskilled volunteers to make a difference in communities in need in around fifty countries worldwide from 1 to 52 weeks, while immersing in and learning about the culture and language of the host country.

Quests enable participants to broaden global perspectives and cross-cultural understanding; improve foreign language skills; work in international teams; develop leadership skills; build lifelong friendships; and most importantly, make a true difference and have a lot of fun along the way.

For more information regarding United Planet and its initiatives, please visit the organization’s website at www.unitedplanet.org.

We hope that this experience interests you as we are convinced it is of interest to your readers to see how much a member of the Springfield, Massachusetts community cares about making a difference in a country such as Ecuador.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best regards,

Cecile Chappey
Project Coordinator
UNITED PLANET

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