On Monday mornings, I go to the office of the Unidad Social de Gualaceo or I go to the terminal and meet up with the person that I will be working with that week. From there, we go off to do our site visits or group visits, where we do small activities and lessons, depending on the needs of the person we are working with. Sunday night, my coworker calls me on my ecuaphone (the cell phone I’m using to communicate in Ecuador because international plans are expensive) and tells me we won’t be doing the usual site visits, and will instead be in the office all day. When I arrived the next morning, I realized that I would be doing what needed to be done. Tracing and cutting and pasting.
It’s boring. I sit there for 3 hours and cut paper, trace it, and cut more.
While I sit there cutting and tracing, my coworker has time to catch up on her paperwork and the documents she needs to submit to the organization I volunteer at (anything to do with the government = piles of paperwork).
The next few days we do our site visits. I work alongside the group who work with people with disabilities. Some of the ‘usuarios’ we work with have high-functioning intellectual disabilities and find it hard to follow directions. Others have physical disabilities and can not cut and trace paper with ease. Having small projects and activities to do (this week was a ‘llavero’ or a keychain) is helpful to everyone because they are not complicated to do (there is gluing and drawing involved) but still require some concentration and movement of the hands.
Throughout the week, I see, firsthand, how the people we work with are enjoying the activities and the little keepsake they receive. We also need to do extensive surveying, which can take a while, so doing a small project is a fun opening activity.
The bottom line is that while, yes, there are many days where I feel as if I am not doing much, the continuous work I have been doing along with the next fellow that will be placed at my jobsite do have an impact.
The above left picture is the ‘llavero’ we were working on and the above right picture is of my coworker, Eliana, indicating what to do to complete the activity.