Rio Muchacho hosts various group volunteers (sometimes called service learning groups) each year. These volunteers come from a range of backgrounds, from groups of students and families, to church and community groups.

The following are summaries of some projects which have been undertaken by groups in recent years, with our deepest appreciation and thanks to all those involved!

2015 – Crafts for schools

An extended family from Spain came very well equipped with art and craft supplies and visited several schools in the community spending a fun day in each. The students were divided into groups and rotated through different activities. This gave the groups a great chance to interact with local communities and improve the school lives of young Ecuadorian children.

2014 – Improving local housing

Students from Montreal helped make simple additions to the kitchens of the local houses in thecommunity to be able to collect grey water and direct it to banana circles. Typically the houses don’t even have a wash basin, just a sloping bench. All the waste water is tipped over the side and falls to the ground with bits of food making a continually damp, smelly mess. The chickens eat what they can but the water is wasted. The volunteers installed a gutter along the bench which directs the water to a funnel (reused water gallon) and through a pipe to the banana circle. Banana circles are 2 m wide holes with bananas planted around the outside and with an accumulative compost pile in the middle. This was a win win situation for the family, their waste water now produces food for them and they have somewhere to put their weeds and leaves.

2010 – Give a Kid a Backpack foundation

Volunteers from the Give a Kid a Backpack Foundation came several years ago and, with the farm acting as the facilitator of contact with the local community, distributed 400 backpacks to country schools where students study with the very basics – a black board and chalk. The backpacks were given to the children to encourage them to continue studying, and were received with much joy and appreciation.

Adopt a School program

The Adopt A School program run by the farm with International Student Volunteers (ISV) has been extended to 12 rural schools in the area, where various volunteer groups have been involved in renovation and active environmental education work; including the construction of play equipment from recycled materials, garbage clean-up and separation work, constructing banana circles (a grey water/organic material recycling method), painting murals, playing educational games with the children and building composting toilets. Every day the children enjoyed constructing, sharing food and playing games – a great cultural exchange for both parties!

Other volunteer work

The most recent work in the Escuela Ambientalista (Environmental School) included the construction of permanent fences and flooring for the school area, with the intention of reducing the amount of expensive and time-consuming maintenance work, which must be done in the school.

A volunteer group also renovated the local church; Installing glass windows, plastering the walls, constructing decorative mosaics and building a fence for the church area.

Several years ago we initiated a water scheme, which was conducted at first by the farm and volunteer groups, and then passed on to local government for completion. This involved the installation of pipelines to bring fresh water from the river to families who had previously had no direct access to this indispensable resource.

We are always more than happy to work with volunteers who want to help us carry onbringing joy to the children improving the living standards and education of the local people.