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Ecuador Photo Journal Digest

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P H O T O J O U R N A L D I G E S TW W W . G L O B A L V O L U N T E E R S . O R G

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Global Volunteers’ service programs adhere to our over-arching Philosophy ofService in every community. Specifically, local people are always in charge ofwork projects, and volunteers contribute to community-driven initiativesalongside local people. At all times, we observe our policy stating “Safety TrumpsEverything.” Orientation sessions are conducted on the first day in-country, andmorning and evening meetings give volunteers time to organize and reviewactivities. The team journal, shared at morning meetings, is a mainstay of every GlobalVolunteers program. A daily collaborative report by one or two team members,it reflects on the day’s work and experiences. In many partner communities,volunteers contribute to several projects in different locations during the day.Through the team journal, volunteers hear about the projects and experiencesof their teammates. While such journaling requires effort, most volunteers report they love thevariety of recollections and stories. The journal becomes an enjoyable way tocommunicate shared and individual memories, and becomes a unique keepsakefor each volunteer team. Volunteers tell us that many years later, the teamjournal allows them to reminisce and cherish their time spent with local peopleand teammates. This journal digest, complete with photos, is a collection of journal excerpts fromvolunteers serving in Calderón, Ecuador.2

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I t i s n o t t h e m a g n i t u d e o fo u r a c t i o n s b u t t h e a m o u n t o f l o v e t h a ti s p u t i n t o t h e m t h a t m a t t e r s .~Mother Teresa

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Today is the day! After the long wait and all the anticipation, I finally get to meeteveryone! And as luck would have it, there is not a person in the group that I donot want to get to know better! We started off the day with a warm breakfast,including eggs cooked to preference, coffee, juice, and fresh fruit. We then didintroductions. Everyone has their unique story.On this morning we were introduced tothe Global Volunteers’ Philosophy ofService, which encompasses 10 guidingprinciples. All the principles wereenlightening, but three particularlyresonated with me: 1) We serve only where invited. 2) Self-reliance is the ultimate objective. 3) We treasure what we learn from localpeople.As a group we decided on approximately20 characteristics of an effective teamand came up with five solid goals wewould like to accomplish.4The highlight of the day was meeting the President and Treasurer of FUNDAC,Marujita and Pilar. It was interesting to get their perspectives and ask themquestions. One thing that I learned from them that I was not expecting wasabout the government with the organization and how it was both good andbad, but also how their requirements changed at the drop of a dime. After lunch, we worked on job responsibilities and roles we would each playover the week and essentially worked on our game plan. We then had a veryspeedy Spanish lesson, which was a fun exercise. We utilized some of what welearned later that evening to make reservations for transportation by phoneand felt very accomplished.Now I am off to bed as tomorrow is a very big day! Our first at FUNDAC!JENNIFERS U N D A Y

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There is so much to say! First off, our ride to work this a.m. made me homesickfor Cuba. Such similarities in some of the communities. It’s fun to see themarkets and shops, fresh fruit stands, and interesting people. As I look around,I realize they are just like me, my family, my society, in a different country.GINA K.5As we drove up to the center, there was an exciting anticipation to meet thelittle nuggets and the profes and step into their world and hopefully make adifference one project at a time. It was fun to talk to Maggie on the ride in andas we approached the center, we passed a park where she walked with thechildren and her face lights up as she speaks so fondly of the center, teachers,and children. What amazes me is after all the years being here, you still see herpassion shine through and her pride of Ecuador.We had a wonderful tour learning of groups that have come before us and gotto see the results of the labor of their love. Maggie reflected during orientationof a tree removal for us to see the end results. There will always be more to doand that’s what impresses me with the relationship of Global Volunteers andFUNDAC – it’s a “long haul” commitment on all parties. I was most impressedwith one of the parent volunteers, Joel, being president of the parents’association and the grandfather of two children at the center. His welcomingwords, so sincerely spoken from the heart brought tears to my eyes and onceagain gave me gratitude for the big picture and to be a small part of it. M O N D A Y

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6After our tour, we got started. I’m in with Profe Anita with two-year-olds and ohmy, are they precious! It was interesting to see how initially they were watchingme as I them with a teeny weeny language barrier. We started outside singingand dancing – that was fun! My first shot of salsa pointing to my elbow rubbingmy tummy and hands in the air. The ice began to break as Lucina and Victoriaheld my hand and danced with me! Made me feel good.As we began in the classroom, the niños learned about lions and tigers, putpuzzles together, and colored. They let me help them with puzzles and loved tohear “bueno, bueno” when they completed a puzzle. I practiced my art workcoloring and drew a lion!I learned that they could quickly get out the door and love to wash their hands!Actually, play in the water! Very normal.Baño, snacks, lunch, nap time, wrap up. It was all fun. However, the best waswhen the teacher had to step out and I thought to myself, “Now what?” So we played Gina’s name game. I would point to a child and they’d all have togive me that child’s name and I even pointed to myself! They thought it was funand I began to learn their names. Then I decided to teach them English – so welearned “nose” and how to say “I love you” in sign language, too (Gina version).It was wonderful. Raúl picked us up and took the group to the middle of the Earth! That was totalfun. I balanced an egg on a nail, unsteadily walked the straight line, and learnedabout shrinking heads, eating guinea pigs, and Goliath spiders! Yep, Sam lovedthat story! We end our travels with a quick stop in the artisan market where I foundbeautiful treasures.

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Arriving at FUNDAC, we are greeted by a new group of parents here for a mingato paint the sleeping rooms. It’s amazing what white paint and hard work cando! Yesterday Maggie told us to let Alexandra, the project leader, be our guideand to learn what they do the way they do it. So even though I have my ownideas about how to paint a room, I followed Alex’s lead and learned some newtricks to take home with me.Speaking of Alexandra, there’s more comfort between the volunteers and theprofesoras today and we built upon this new ease during our first team-ledEnglish class. These women are so bright and warm and some of them are veryfunny, too. My own Spanish is still so limited but I’m not as shy to try today andI think some of the profes feel the same way too.Day 2 dawns and I am even more excited today than yesterday. I think we allfeel more comfortable and confident in our roles going into the second day.We start early - eggs to order at 7:00 a.m. - followed by a morning messagefrom Mary Beth reminding us of our commitment to service. We take thesewords into the day with us. I am pleasantly surprised, however, how close agroup of people can feel in such a short amount of time. Even though we hailfrom all over the country, are different ages, and have various backgrounds, wereally do have a lot in common. Each of us came here compelled to serve.7GINA O. T U E S D A Y

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D o e v e r y a c t o f y o u r l i f ea s i f i t w e r e y o u r l a s t .~ Marcus Aurelius

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Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. Sheis also known as the earth mother. We learned on our night city tour of OldTown that ~20% of Ecuadorians identify as Pachamama and the remaining 80%are Catholic. Although the gods and religious beliefs of the two groups seemvery different, I have noticed that they are more alike than different. They areunited by a passion for conservation, nature, and treasuring historical valuesand traditions.Today the volunteers, parents, and teachers were all united in the joy offinishing the fresh white paint in the two nap rooms. Elizabeth, Erica, Gigi, and Iscraped, sanded, and painted these rooms alongside local people for two daysand another group finished the project today. While that bear was a bear, inthe end he and the other walls are covered in fresh paint and the ceiling withanti-fungal. These rooms will provide a more safe and peaceful place for thechildren to nap.9LINDSEYToday, I worked in Profe Alex M.’s classroom with five one-year-olds and twotwo-year-olds. The hearts and eyes of these humans are amazing. We are alltied together by the desire for love and comfort. I could not get enough hugsor playtime with them. The way Alex taught them is similar to in the U.S. - withsong, dance, pictures, art projects, and the utmost care. These children alsoneed to run and play after breakfast. They interact with one another and us.While they don’t have as many resources and material possessions, they makethe most of what they have. They are more self-sufficient (all ate with spoons)than many U.S. children, but all have the same desire for independence. I amamazed by how Alex and the other profes handle classes of seven to nine niñoson their own with huge hearts. I cannot wait to be with the children againtomorrow.W E D N E S D A Y

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I am blessed with the opportunity to volunteer at a daycare center in Ecuadorfor a couple weeks.Today, we started off the day with a wholesome breakfast. The hotel staff doesa fantastic job with our meals! Then we headed for the center and I canhonestly say that every drive we make there, I notice something new andbeautiful. Upon arrival, the kids welcomed us with full hearts and grins acrosstheir faces. I saw Alan waving at me and Iván finishing some of his food before Idipped into the office to set my bag down and start the day! Thankfully, it wasanother full day of fun activities! We cut out paper flowers, made plastic potsfor flowers, brushed teeth several times, played outside, went to the bathroommore times than I can count, and more. The food was exceptional. Then, Isanded some tables during nap time and then proceeded to comb hair andwash faces as the day was winding down. Moreover, I had and thoroughlyenjoyed a rather enlightening life talk with Profe Johanna. She’s a hardworkingwoman with a good head on her shoulders.10MICAHWe had a fantastic dinner at a local restaurant and then I relaxed by watchingsome basketball. Nevertheless, I thought a lot today. Not that I’m an airhead oranything but more than I usually do. I still questioned if I’m doing this for morethan the generic purpose? Then, Danna and I became best friends. This littlegirl ran and hugged my leg without hesitation after simply waving. She alwayswanted to play tag, eat, and do all kinds of things with me. She also had aflattering fascination with my hair. Little did I know that this little girl has taughtso much in one day about being human than I’ve ever learned in my lifetime.She showed what pure innocence, love, and kindness looks like. She remindedme that regardless of the circumstances, we must help one another because allwe have in this world is each other. She reminded me of why I am here and Ican’t wait to see what else I can learn in my next days here.T H U R S D A Y

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Last day of our first week! We resumed our roles right away – cupboards, childcare, murals, and I think we are all feeling like we have the routine down reallywell now.We worked with Vanesa and her three-year-olds. They were so sweet and lovedthe chance to communicate. We were in charge of cutting up all kinds of fruitsfor a massive fruit salad. It surprised me how well the kids are able to sit andwatch what the adults are doing. We had large knives, but none of the childrentouched them. They were mesmerized by all the peeling, cutting, andchopping. Every child and teacher got a beautiful serving of fruit salad. 11CAROLYNWe had our lunch and were able to use lunch time to re-evaluate our muralgoals. A fourth mural was now in the works. I love our group, and am so gladwe can adapt our working environment at this amazing center. I am looking forward to our next week with the kids. I have confidence now inwhat I can contribute, and I think this comes from really knowing the dailyroutine, and the willingness of the staff to help us out. It was a fantastic firstweek!F R I D A Y

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B e f e a r l e s s o n t h e p u r s u i to f w h a t s e t s y o u r s o u l o n f i r e .~ Jennifer Lee

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Saturday dawned slightly cloudy with the potential for rain. Pat, Amy, andCallan headed to Mindo with their guide, Juan Carlos. Larry stayed in and spenta relaxing day reading. Having finished their one-week service programyesterday, Gina K. and Elizabeth headed to the Galápagos Islands for four days.On the way to Mindo Cloud Forest, Don, Jennifer, and Lindsey took a refreshingwalk along a stream in the cloud forest where they saw many species oforchids, a turquoise jay, and an intrepid hummingbird. Fortunately, Juan Carloswent first and carefully moved spider webs out of the way. From there, theywent on to Mindo where they visited El Quetzal de Mindo Chocolate Factory.The factory makes organic, hand-processed chocolate. The tour included theopportunity to taste test the chocolate combined with ginger, hot peppers, andlemon grass.13DONAfter lunch they followed in Micah, Carolyn, and Thomas' footsteps and visitedthe butterfly, humming bird, and orchid center and then stopped by the Centerof the World on the way back to Quito.S A T U R D A Y

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On Sunday we took a much-anticipated trip with Richard as our tour guide. Ourfirst stop was Mitad del Mundo (the Middle of the World) where we heardabout the CORRECT/GPS location of the equator. Next was a store overlookingSan Pablo Lake where I purchased my longtime favorite, biscochos con queso, orcheese sticks. Yum. Gwyn enjoyed the young boy in native dress with his babyllama.On toFeria de Animalesor Animal Fair in Otavalo. Fortunately, neither Gwyn norEloise bought a chicken to take back to our hotel. Next stop was the PonchoMarket in Otavalo, city of 200,000 mostly indigenous folks. Thebañowas muchappreciated. We were given 1.5 hours to shop and look. The sun became veryhot, Cora's and Gwyn's purchases were completed, and so we were actually abit early meeting Richard at his automobile.We went to Cuicocha, a freshwater lagoon filled by rain water in a volcaniccrater, no fish. The reserve is under renovation so our admission was free. Wehad seen cuyes (guinea pigs) on grilling spits in Cayambe so Richard teased usoften about eating cuy. The green hill in the middle of the lagoon is shaped likea guinea pig but that image takes a bit of imagination. The museum was open,pretty empty, nice baños.14CAROLYNOff to Cotacachi, the leather capital of Ecuador, with its clean streets andsimpler lifestyle. We ate a fine dinner then Eloise and Gwyn strolled the streetsand browsed a few shops while Richard and Cora went to the small yellowRoman Catholic church across from the city park so Cora could pray. Ah, suchpeace.On to Peguche waterfall to meet Nanda Mandini, a famous Quechan musicianand music instrument maker. We enjoyed learning about his music and lookingat his work area and especially the orchids, bromeliads, and other flora growingin such a tiny space. Gwyn won the prize when she found a tarantula crawlingover some blooming plant.S U N D A Y

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S p r e a d l o v e w h e r e v e r y o u g o . L e t n oo n e e v e r c o m e t o y o u w i t h o u tl e a v i n g h a p p i e r~ Mother Teresa

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Today was another hard-working and rewarding day! Lexi, Rose, Mie, Lanse,Burk, Susan, Sofia, and Sam were again joined by a group of parents and a localwork crew. They continued to make improvements to the exterior of the centerincluding cutting, measuring, soldering, and installing new bars by the frontdoor; sanding and painting railings, walls, and windows; picking and peelingpaint off the old mural; and finishing the grout work on the new tile. Gordon,Don, Natalie, Caroline, Kim, Sophie, and Olga continued to help the teachersdeliver their lesson plans and provide childcare for the 57 one, two, and three-year-old children at the center.After lunch and during the children’s nap time, a group went straight back toworking hard on the exterior projects and the teacher support team workedalongside the teachers stenciling and cutting pieces out of colorful foam sheetsfor the dolls that each child is going to get at their graduation celebration nextmonth.16OLGAGordon’s highlights were playing the electric finger game with the childrenand making up dancing moves with them. Sophie’s highlight was talking to the one-year-olds. Lorena scared themthrough the window! Caroline’s highlight has been walking into the center in the morning andseeing everyone’s faces light up!Natalie’s highlight was feeling she was giving little Miguel comfort, security,and joy when he got hurt and ran directly to her. Olga’s highlight was seeing smiles of joy come over everyone’s faces asthey thought of what has made their time at the center special. It was apretty awesome sight!!At the end of the day, Olga asked some of the volunteers what the highlight oftheir time at the center has been. Here’s what everyone shared:M O N D A Y

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Today was a busy day!A yummy breakfast at 7:00 as usual was followed by ourdaily team meeting.This included each of us doing our best to introduce andsay a few things about ourselves, all in Spanish. Trying to use Spanish is one ofour team goals. Everyone did great!Then off to Our Lady of Carmen Early Childhood Development Center #2 inCalderón, on the north edge of Quito. This center is one of two supported byFUNDAC, our community partner in Calderón, Ecuador. Bob and I spent thefirst 45 minutes at the center with Alexandra and her two to three-year-olds. Ihad arranged with her to bring some large photos I had taken of children,doing various activities, to share with her children for language development inSpanish. It went something like this: “¿Qué está haciendo? ¿Está jugando? No.¿Está comiendo? Sí, está comiendo.” Or, “What is s/he doing? Is s/he playing?No. Is s/he eating? Yes, s/he is eating.” We had fun and engaged in this way forabout ten minutes with Alexandra being very helpful and encouraging thechildren to verbalize what the child in the photo was doing, and/or repeat afterme. Then Bob and I enjoyed watching and helping Alexandra with severalactivities she had planned, including an interactive story with a nice message ofhelpfulness, singing songs, naming fruits (and their colors) using large picturesof each, etc. She even invited us to name the fruits and colors in English aftershe and the children did so in Spanish.17THOMASAfter lunch with our team, we went upstairs and joined the teachers in paintingwhite on three walls of the eating room upstairs. The teachers did this whilethe children napped for a little over an hour. They are amazing — busy all day!When the kids began waking, they were back supervising their little ones!I loved all of the time with Alexandra and her children. I felt like it was anenriching giving and receiving which went both ways.T U E S D A Y

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D o w h a t y o u c a n t o s h o w y o uc a r e a b o u t o t h e r p e o p l e , a n d y o uw i l l m a k e o u r w o r l d a b e t t e r p l a c e .~ Rosalynn Carter

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After breakfast, followed by the routine of having received the Message of theDay and had the daily journal read, followed in turn by a briefing by our TeamLeader, Maggie, we left for assignments at 8 a.m. in two vans. After a 30-minutedrive, we reached Calderón and were deposited at the gate of our servicecenter, where there is a sign that says “Quito Alcaldía” (The Mayor’s Office ofQuito). Our team of 14 members was met by a chorus of “buenos días” fromthe children who were finishing up breakfast. It was a noisy welcome receptionwith a lot of hugs and holds from the children.19DONThe team members separated to begin the day. The labor construction team,under the leadership of Lanse and with input from Maggie, were focused onbuilding a playhouse. Other members of the labor team included Kim, Lexi,Rose, and four individuals from the local community. They worked on drawingsfrom murals, painting them on the walls at the entrance to the building. Burkleyand two other local individuals from the community helped Lanse with theconstruction of the playhouse. At the end of the day the playhouse had beenfinished and another one started, much to Maggie’s delight.The rest of us went inside the building to participate individually to assignedclassrooms with regular teachers. They were six classrooms dedicated todifferent age groups, one-year-olds, two-year-olds, and three-year-olds.Classroom activities in general were focused on developing conceptual skillssuch as learning body parts, colors, shapes, and designs along with activities fordeveloping fine motor and conceptual skills. There were frequent breaks fortoileting, nutrition, and brushing teeth, all in a flexible schedule leading to ameal break followed by an extended nap.W E D N E S D A Y

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Our team broke for lunch and we were escorted by Maggie to a local favoriterestaurant at 12:30 p.m., where the lunch meals were always very delicious.After returning from lunch, the group joined the teachers to work on arts andcrafts, cutting figurines in preparation for the graduation of the three-year-olds. Maggie also gave a briefing to the individuals regarding dos and don’ts forthe scheduled home visit period.20At 4:30 p.m. the vans picked us up and we drove back to the hotel. Those of uswho had elected to stay for dinner ate at 5:30 p.m. That, in general, was ourWednesday service at the center for FUNDAC in Quito. Some personal reflections: This being the second week of our service programand having heard the journals written and read by team members, our teamgoals appear to be well met as we worked hand in hand with individuals fromthe local community. We were an effective team in providing a meaningfulconstructive contribution that was visible and tangible in the Calderóncommunity.While working on arts and crafts, the toddlers, who had been napping, began to wake up. They then had their afternoon snack. The teachers dressed thetoddlers with cosmetic touches in preparation to receive their parents and gohome as this was the end of the school day. The final team activity was anexpressive English language lesson covering common expressions with threeteachers led by Susan and assisted by Gordon, Natalie, and Mie. This was anexcellent drill activity for the teachers.

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M a k e a d i f f e r e n c e i n t h e w o r l do n e s w i m l a n e a t a t i m e .~ Jennifer Howlett

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Well, it’s the end of the week and no doubt, it was fast and furious. It was ahigh octane emotional and physical roller coaster ride. The day started thesame as it had all week. We started at the crack of dawn. We met for breakfastat 7 a.m. and at 7:20 a.m. our fierce leader would arrive to get the day going. I had childcare duty the last two days of our journey. Prior to the last two days Iwas assigned to labor work and oh man, let me tell you, if I thought labor workwas intense and be in a room full of two-year-old toddlers atfull speed made it extremely exhausting by 9:30 a.m. However, every momentwas so worth it and very rewarding.22ELIZABETH I had the opportunity to serve with Mónica, a very patient profesora, and hertwo-year-old guaguas. Their day was filled with a variety of small activities. Oneactivity had my emotional flood gates burst wide open. The children hadpainted one of their tiny hands and stamped a sheet of paper using their tinypainted hands. Mónica then placed the sheets by the window to let them dryand we moved forward with their scheduled regimen. Sometime between theirsecond and third meal (by the way, the kids are very well fed) we are in theclassroom when Mónica asks me to cut out the painted hands. As I’m cuttingout the tiny hands, I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling of sadness but joyat the same time. A sadness and joy feeling that at that moment, I knew my jobwas complete and my heart was overflowing with love and happiness. Not onlyhas this trip reset my mental and emotional state (due to grieving over myhusband’s untimely death), it has uplifted my spirit beyond belief. I wasconsumed by an overwhelming sense of love, plus more, that I never thought Icould ever feel again. Although our service has ended, this community will continue to grow andprosper in order to provide a positive environment for the growing children.T H U R S D A Y

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This week has been filled with friendship, learning, contributing to thecommunity, and spreading joy! The women of FUNDAC, teachers, and childrenall hold a special place in my heart. From walking into the center in the morningwith 80 little children excited waving their hands and saying “Buenos días” tothe teachers giving you hugs at the end of the day sad to see you go.Everywhere we went, we were greeted with smiles and overwhelmingappreciation for the work we did at the center and the help we provided to theteachers.It was amazing to have the opportunity to teach English to the teachers. Wetaught basic nouns and simple conversations and high fived and cheered witheach success. I was surprised how much we could communicate through theday despite my very limited Spanish and their limited English.Looking at our last day, I am sad to say goodbye to Maggie, the teachers, niños,ladies of FUNDAC, and beautiful Ecuador. Everyone will hold a special place inmy heart and I can’t wait to return.I can’t believe how much we accomplished! 23A group of strangers with different backgrounds came together on day one inEcuador and today I can call them all amazing friends through our service withGlobal Volunteers. Going into this trip not knowing anyone and entering aforeign city could be very intimidating, but Maggie was with us every step of theway from phone calls and emails before the trip to our orientation in countryand even recommending what to pack.ERICAF R I D A Y

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375 East Little Canada RoadSt. Paul, MN 55117-1628 USA(800) 487-1074 | toll-free(651) 482-0915 | faxemail@globalvolunteers.orgGLOBAL VOLUNTEERS GlobalVolunteersglobalvolunteersgloblvolunteers