Hosteria Pachamama welcomes new volunteers!

The last weeks many new volunteers arrived!In the beginning of November we welcomed Bushra from England! She arrived just in time to celebrate Finados with us (the day of the dead).
 This is one of the most important days for the people of Salasaka. It was very interesting for the volunteers to get to know this tradition. On the day of the dead, everyone in Salasaka goes to the cemetery to visit the graves of their loved ones. But they aren't sad about it! They prefer remembering them by celebrating. They do this by eating, drinking and visiting the graves of the ones that passed away. Anna and Annika even got to dress up in the traditional clothing of the salasakan women :) 

After finados there were also some changes to the work we do. Before we had English classes in the afternoon five days a week, but that's diffrent now. We started working with the kids of the local community of Patuloma again. So on Thursday and Friday we volunteer with them in the "casa de la comunida…

Culture and tradition week!

Culture and tradition weekAt the school and the afternoon classes we had a very interesting week. We let the children and adults reflect about what is typical for a culture. They thought about what makes a culture so special. Things such as food, clothing, nature, celebrations... After a short introduction the students got to make a presentation about their own Ecuadorian culture. They worked together in groups to make a beautiful poster about their country. Afterwards they even got to present their poster in front of the class. It was so nice to see them talk about their own country, but in English of course ;) The little kids learned about the colours of the rainbow. At friday we taught them the rainbow song and a little dance. They loved it! 

We also welcomed a new volunteer in the volunteer house. Her name is Anna and she is from Belgium. She will be staying with us for 3 months and is very excited to work with the kids from the community.

The girls proud of their poster
The result

How to Prepare for Volunteering with SKY

So you’ve found SUMAK KAWSAY YACHAY (or SKY), filled out your application form, and now you’re eagerly waiting to join us in Salasaka. Surely there’s more you need to know, right? Absolutely! That’s why we put together this short list of ways you can make the most of your time with us, before you even get here! Make sure your dates are confirmed. Once you know when you’ll be arriving, including the date and time, and you’ve confirmed with a volunteer coordinator, you should receive directions to Hosteria Pachamama, AKA your new home, via email. If you just can’t wait, you can also find the directions here on our Volunteers Page. The drivers of the camionettas (or white pickup trucks with green stripes) know Hosteria Pachamama well and are used to shuttling volunteers. Learn about the local culture and language. Most of us intend to do research beforehand, but it’s often much easier said than done. Fortunately, we’ve tried to make it easier for you by compiling a few useful phrases in …

A typical day in Salasaka

A normal day in Salasaka begins with the volunteers making breakfast around 7.30am. The classes in the local school begin at 8.20am, usually 3 volunteers look after these classes for around 3 hours. We only have morning classes from Monday to Wednesday. The classes range from first to seventh grade.

Some pictures of volunteers and students during their morning classes
The school is located in the centre of Salasaka, 10 minutes from the volunteer house Pachamama. The average clase size is 25-30 students. We try to speak as much English as possible with the students, an ability to speak Spanish is not completely necessary but it's very helpful to have a few words. Volunteering in Salasaka is also an excellent opportunity to improve your Spanish (and for the more adventurous person you can also learn the indigenous language Kichwa).

After the morning school we return to the house to cook lunch (we generally cook healthy vegetarian meals) and prepare the afternoon classes. The classes…

5 Reasons You Should Volunteer with SKY

Volunteering abroad can be a challenging and rewarding experience. It takes us to new places, exposes us to new cultures, and helps us learn more about ourselves and the world we live in. These are only a few of the reasons we do it. But how do we choose where to go and which organization to give our time and skills to? Each person has their own reason for wanting to volunteer abroad, but we thought we’d offer a few of the top reasons why we think you should consider working with SKY. 

A unique and immersive opportunity for cultural exchange with the indigenous Salasaka community. Salasaka is a wonderfully unique indigenous village, which means its culture is different from many of the surrounding areas of Ecuador. For example, most people in Salasaka are bilingual, speaking Spanish and Kichwa, and have traditions and festivals that vary from other parts of Ecuador. Volunteering with SKY will immerse you within this special Andean community, introducing you to new foods, music, ways of…

Volunteer Profile: Zach and Ayn-Marie

Meet Zach and Ayni (“Annie”) Age: Zach, 28; Ayni, 27 Home country: USA
What languages do you speak? English and the tiniest amount of Spanish. We know enough to get by, which in our case means: book a hostel, take a bus, give directions to a taxi driver, and order Salchipapas from the local vendor in Salasaka. You know, the important stuff.
How did you hear about SKY? We found SKY on the internet, specifically We read the recommendations, scoured the website, and filled out our application. A few weeks later, we were here.
Why did you want to volunteer with SKY? Our time in Salasaka is sandwiched between a few weeks of traveling across Ecuador. We thought a volunteering experience would get us off the well-worn backpacker path, and give us some time to sit still during our whirlwind trip through this beautiful country. We also had an interest in teaching English, so it seemed like a near-perfect fit.
How long will be volunteering with SKY? Sadly, only two weeks. W…

Student Profile: Chantal Torres

Meet Chantal Torres

Chantal has been taking English classes at GAD Parroquial, and before that she took classes at the Katitawa school. Her enthusiasm for learning and her fun, energetic personality make her a class favorite among teachers and her fellow students. It’s always a joy to see her smiling face.

We asked Chantal if she’d be willing to share some information about herself, her family, and her love of learning. Here’s what she had to say.

Age: 8

Where are you from? I am from Salasaka.

How long have you been learning English? Three years total. I started at Katitawa and I am taking classes at GAD Parroquial now.

Why do you want to learn English? I like it. It’s very fun and I like to meet the volunteers.

Tell us about your family. I have one older brother and one older sister. My brother is in 10th grade and my sister is in University. My brother is fun. He used to come to the school. So did my sister. And my mother used to come to the school with her friend Mercedes.

What do you enj…