2018Ecuador_WelcomePackage_Pages_Jan15-2018

Welcome Package

Your ME to WE Trip to Ecuador

Wel come .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Safet y over v i ew. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Vi s i t i ng a t ravel doctor .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Commun i cat i on wh i le t ravel i ng .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Money .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

ME to WE Tr i p rules and pol i c i es .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Pack i ng t i ps for Ecuador . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

I nt roduc i ng our Ecuador count r y team. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Upon ar r i val .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Wel come to the Ecuador : count r y i nformat i on over v i ew.. . . . . . 12

Accommodat i ons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Food . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Volunteer i ng . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Sample i t i nerar y .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Next -steps check l i st .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Tr i p photos .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Contact us .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Table of contents

Hola! Dear parents & guardians: First of all—thank you for your support in your child’s journey to change the world! You must know you’ve raised an amazing child. With that in mind, we understand that sending your child on a ME to WE Trip is a family decision. We can’t wait to host your child in Ecuador, and want to welcome you as part of the planning process as well to ensure you’re feeling confident and equipped with all the information you need. The next few pages first focus on the aspects of a trip we know are most important to parents, followed by information directed at your young traveler to help them feel excited and prepared for their adventure! We recommend that you review all the information in this package together as a family. If you have any questions, please connect with your trip coordinator—we’re here to support you with anything you need.

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Safety overview: Our #1 priority ME to WE has been facilitating volunteer trips overseas since 2002. Since then, we have taken more than 6,500 youth to Africa, Asia, South America, Central America and North America without major incident. We take serious measures and precautions to ensure your child’s safety from the moment they approach you about going on a ME to WE Trip to the moment they return home. ► ► ME to WE Trips abide by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs travel advisories and monitors these updates prior to and during travel. ► ► Canadian and American participants are registered with their respective embassies before departure to ensure accountability in case of emergency. For all other nationalities, ME to WE strongly recommends participants register with their embassy prior to travel. ► ► Copies of all passports, medical and travel insurance, and emergency contact information are collected well in advance of the trip. ► ► Our extensive facilitator training program includes emergency evacuation protocols, standard operating procedures, and crisis prevention and risk In Ecuador, our safety measures include: Pre-trip

management. All facilitators are trained in first aid. ► ► Emergency communication is available 24 hours a day between our Country Team and our Toronto office. During trip ► ► All accommodations have 24-hour security systems and participants are given an orientation to know where to find resources. ► ► All transportation is run by our trusted transportation providers and all travel within Ecuador occurs under the guidance of our team. ME to WE Trips do not utilize any public transportation in Ecuador. ► ► ME to WE Trips travel with a local ME to WE staff member fluent in the local language and familiar with all locations of ME to WE programming. ► ► Purified water is available at all times and all food is prepared by cooks who are trained in proper food preparation. ► ► During all building activities, participants are given thorough instructions on the use of equipment and wear protective gear at all times. ► ► Local hospitals with Western medical standards are available and prepared to handle any minor or major medical situations. Click here for more information on ME to WE’s safety procedures.

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Visiting a travel doctor As you prepare for your ME to WE experience, we recommend that you visit a travel doctor. At ME to WE, we cannot provide advice on specific medications or vaccinations you may need for your trip. The advice given to you by a travel doctor will depend on your past medical history, and will ultimately be a family decision. We suggest going to visit a travel doctor two to six months before you depart on your adventure. When you visit the travel doctor, you can let them know: ► ► You will be in Quito for one night at the beginning and one night at the end of your trip. ► ► You will be in Chimborazo province, close to the city of Riobamba, for the remainder of your trip. ► ► Please note that you will not be interacting with animals on your trip, but you may see animals in the communities you are working in.

Communication while traveling Once the group arrives, there will be limited access to phones and the Internet for the duration of the trip. Apart from there being very limited cell service in the areas we work in, we truly believe in having youth immerse themselves fully in programming and the adventure they are having. Within 24 hours of arrival, travelers will have an opportunity to contact parents or guardians back home by email to let them know they have arrived safely. Please note that although we strongly encourage travelers to send an email home, some choose not to. If you would like an email, please let your traveler know. From then on, the trip coordinator will send an update to all listed emergency contacts approximately every three to four days of the trip outlining what the group has been doing. Facilitators will carry an emergency cellphone at all times to be used in the event of an emergency and will be in daily communication with our team in Ecuador. Remember, no news is good news! In the event of an emergency in-country, parents or guardians will be contacted immediately by phone. We therefore ask that you ensure that the phone numbers of the

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emergency contacts listed on the Trips Portal are up-to-date. If they have changed, please contact your trip coordinator as soon as possible. In the event of an emergency at home please contact ME to WE’s emergency phone at 1.416.526.8450. If you have any general questions about the trip, please contact your trip coordinator. Money We recommend bringing between $150 and $200 USD in small bills for your trip. Your food, water, transportation and other basic costs are included in the cost of the trip, but you will want to have some money to purchase souvenirs. You may also want to buy snacks along the way or at the airport before and during your travel—this will be at your own expense. Please exchange your money to USD before the trip. There will be an opportunity to exchange money when you arrive in Ecuador as well.

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ME to WE Tr i p rul es ME to WE has a set of rules that will apply to all youth, adults and staff while you are traveling with us. Breaking these rules could result in a traveler’s removal from the trip at their own expense or that of their parent/guardians. 1. There is no alcohol, tobacco or any illegal substances allowed on the trip. This includes any drug or alcohol paraphernalia, regardless of the age of the traveler. 2. There is no sexual activity or romantic relationships allowed on the trip and all accommodations are separated based on gender. 3. Only respectful and positive relationships are allowed. All travelers must show respect for themselves, their educators, staff, the community and the general public. There is no tolerance for discrimination, violence or inappropriate language use while on a ME to WE Trip. ME to WE po l i c i es There are a few policies that we ask travelers to commit to in order to ensure we are preserving the relationships we have with our communities and making this trip as impactful as possible. Photo policy This policy exists to preserve the positive relationships we have with our partner communities.

We want to ensure that the photos we take are not exploitative, and that we are taking photos of solutions—not problems—to share with friends and family. We ask that photos are only taken of people with whom we have built a relationship, after obtaining their permission. We will never take photos of people we see while driving or walking by. We can assure you that there will be plenty of opportunities for you to take photos and highlight key moments on your trip. The trip facilitators will let the group know when it’s appropriate to take a photo. Gift-giving policy WE has worked for many years to create strong partnerships with the communities we work with. The WE Villages program works toward sustainable development and empowering people and communities to support themselves. This means that the work we do is in solidarity with our communities, not an act of charity. Because of this, we ask that participants do not bring gifts from home to give local children or families. This includes anything and everything from a soccer ball to school supplies to the sunglasses on your face. Remember that you’re already contributing so much just by being in the community volunteering. A friendly wave, a smile or a hello in the local language is the most important gift you can give.

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Packing tips for Ecuador Be sure to consider the weight of the items that you are planning to bring—remember that you’ll have to carry them around with you throughout your travels. All clothing and personal items should be packed in a hiking backpack (45-65 litre) or a duffel bag. It is recommended that you have a document holder (e.g., money belt) to carry important documents such as your passport and money that should never leave you while in transit. Please be sure to review our clothing policy before packing and dress conservatively throughout the trip. This means not wearing any clothing that is tight or revealing. Please note that the clothing list is a guide and to be used at your discretion, however, please consider that there may be cultural expectations around dress that may be different from home. If you are concerned about what you should and should not wear, please refer to the list below for must haves and items to leave at home. Cotton and natural fibers Chimborazo The climate in the Andes Mountains varies greatly. Groups may experience warm sunny days, and very cold nights. The temperatures range between 6°C and 19°C. Please remember to bring enough warm clothing and wear layers. Quito You will spend about two days in Quito where temperatures range between 10°C and 19°C. The Average temperatures in Ecuador

do not dry well in hot weather. We advise synthetic, quick-drying fabrics. If you would like to wash a few items during the trip, you can bring biodegradable laundry soap and do so in the sinks at your accommodations. If you plan on doing laundry, remember that cotton will keep you cool, hot weather, but takes a long time to dry and therefore may not be the best material for this trip. Please bring travel-size amounts of items and only what you will need for the duration of the trip. Please also remove any plastics and packaging from products before packing them to ensure proper recycling and limited waste in-country. You will be asked to not leave anything behind at the end of your trip. We invite you to take the opportunity to use your trip as a time to disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in your new surroundings. We ask that you do not bring your cellphone on your trip, and if you do it is only to use it as a camera. If you are on a connecting flight, we recommend bringing your cellphone for transit in case you need to connect with our team.

city has a fairly constant cool climate due to its elevation. Please remember to bring a few warmer items to wear during your time in Quito. The Amazon Temperatures range between 22°C and 35°C and humidity can be as high as 90%. Even though June through September is the dry season, please still expect periods of rain during your visit.

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Checked baggage (45-65 litre backpack or duffel bag) Toiletries Toothbrush and toothpaste Dental floss

Carry-on bag (School sized backpack) Passport and travel documents Prescription medications Camera or cellphone (to use as camera) 2 t-shirts 1 pair of pants 1 sweater 2 extra pairs of underwear Sunglasses Essential toiletries (no liquids over 100ml) Personal items (e.g.: books, magazines, journal) Reusable water bottle $150 - $200 USD Spending money Provided in country on trip P P Filtered water to fill your water bottle P P Hard hats, safety goggles, gloves, steel toe covers and masks, and rain boots in the Amazon

Hairbrush Deodorant Moisturizer Hand wipes and sanitizer Sunscreen Feminine products (if required) Biodegradable shampoo, conditioner and soap Bug spray with DEET Footwear

Sturdy running shoes Socks for length of trip Flip-flops or sandals for showers and accommodations

Clothing 3-4 full-length pairs of pants

What not to bring × × Yoga pants or leggings × × Tank tank tops or low cut tops × × Jewelry × × Clothing with any sayings that may be culturally inappropriate × × Knives or weapons of any kind (including Swiss army knives) × × Hair straightener or blow dryer × × Electronic items, including shavers

1 pairs of warm pants (e.g., sweatpants) Undergarments for the length of the trip 5-6 t-shirts (no low cut v-necks) 4 long sleeve shirts 2 warm sweaters 1 light rain jacket with hood Pajamas Hat with a brim Warm mittens Optional recommended items Nut-free snacks Rehydration salts or electrolytes Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries Camera with charger Biodegradable laundry soap Towel and facecloth A thin scarf or bandana Aloe vera cream/gel/anti-itch cream Warm toque Warm scarf

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Introducing our Ecuador country team Below are some of the incredible team members who are working hard in Ecuador to make all the arrangements for your life-changing experience. While they work mostly behind the scenes, you may see them pop in during your trip, so make sure to introduce yourself! You will also be accompanied by two full-time facilitators, who will be confirmed closer to your date of departure. Your facilitators will be there 24/7 to guide you through the each moment of your trip experience, and make sure that you are having a fun, safe and meaningful journey.

Ximena Morris Director of Client Experience and Logistics

Elisabeth Valdivieso Program Manager

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Upon arrival After landing at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport, you will proceed as a group toward customs. Please ensure you have your passport handy, as well as your completed customs card, which will have been given to you on the plane before landing. In turn, each traveler will be called up to speak with a border agent, who will ask to see your passport and customs card. From there, you will proceed to baggage claim to find your luggage. You will then gather as a group to ensure everyone has claimed their luggage and is ready to go. Before you exit the airport, you will be required to put all of your baggage (both checked luggage and carry-on) through a security X-ray. You will then exit to the arrivals area, where a member of our team will be waiting to greet you! The drive to your hotel is approximately 45–70 minutes from the airport (depending on traffic) so, if necessary, please make sure to use the bathroom in the arrivals area before you head to the bus.

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Welcome to Ecuador

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Ecuador facts: ► ► Ecuador’s primary exports include oil, bananas and shrimp ► ► 95% of Ecuador’s population is Roman Catholic ► ► The average life expectancy in Ecuador is 76 years ► ► One third of Ecuadorians live in rural areas ► ► 35% of the Ecuadorian population lives below the poverty line ► ► More than 7% of children aged five to 14 are engaged in child labor

Country information overview The South American country of Ecuador (Spanish for Equator) gets its name from the fact that it straddles the Equatorial line. Bordering Colombia to the north, Peru to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west, Ecuador’s population of 14.5 million is comprised of 65 percent Mestizo (mixed Indigenous and Spanish), 25 percent Indigenous, 7 percent Black and 3 percent European ethnicities. Although Spanish is Ecuador’s official language, many of the Indigenous people speak their native language, Kichwa. Ecuador has four main geographical regions: the Pacific Coastal Area, the Andean Highlands, the Amazon Rainforest and the Galápagos Islands. The Amazon is home to more than 200 Indigenous groups and less than 5 percent of Ecuador’s entire population. It is the earth’s largest and most biodiverse watershed and tropical rainforest. After centuries of political repression, abandonment and exploitation by the “hacienda-huasipungo” (large estate/bonded labor) land-system, the Indigenous people finally gained independence in 1977 and the right to vote, study and own a piece of land. Although significant progress has been made, Ecuador’s four million Indigenous people still remain the ethnic group most affected by poverty.

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Accommodations During your time in Quito at the beginning and end of your trip, you will be staying in a local hotel in the historic center of Old Quito. While you are in Chimborazo, you will be staying in locally inspired guest houses and lodges that we have very close relationships with. You will share a room with some of your fellow travelers of the same gender.

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Lunch ► ► Salad with tomato and onion & vinaigrette dressing ► ► Spaghetti ► ► Tomato & Bolognese sauce ► ► Vegetable soufflé ► ► Caramel flan Dinner ► ► Quinoa soup ► ► Lettuce, spinach & cauliflower salad with vinaigrette dressing ► ► Garlic bread ► ► Spaghetti with sautéed chicken ► ► Roasted vegetables ► ► Coconut flan

Food In Ecuador, all your meals will be served buffet- style, with a mix of familiar foods from home and more local dishes for you to try. Below is a sample menu of the types of foods you might find on your plate in the Amazon:

Breakfast ► ► Scrambled eggs ► ► Fried plantain ► ► Sliced white bread ► ► Cinnamon rolls ► ► Pancakes ► ► Seasonal fruit ► ► Fruit juice ► ► Two types of cereal ► ► Milk ► ► Yogurt ► ► Coffee/tea

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Volunteering You will find out the name of the community you will be volunteering in approximately one month before your trip. Communities are allocated based on need and the progress made by previous groups. You can learn more about the Ecuadorian communities that WE Villages works with here .

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Sampl e I t i nerar y Day 1 : Travel and arr i val in Ecuador Your adventure begins as you depart for Quito, Ecuador. Arrive into the Mariscal Sucre International Airport, check-in to your accommodations and relax after your flight. Get ready to change the world! Day 2: Travel to Chimborazo Province Travel high up into the Andes Mountains and get settled in your new accommodations near the community where you’ll be working.

Day 3-onwards : Explore Ecuador Highlights include: Community orientation: One of the most exciting moments of your trip may be the first time you see the community where you’ll be volunteering throughout your time in Ecuador. Your facilitators will lead you on a tour of the building projects in the community. Be welcomed by local community members and learn more about Ecuador’s culture and traditions, joys and daily challenges. For the next several days, you won’t just be a visitor in the community—you’ll be part of a family as you work together toward shared goals. Building 101: Make the most of your volunteering time in the community by taking part in a mandatory one-hour project building safety workshop. Volunteer project: Depending on the community, day and time, your volunteering could be a variety of different activities—you could be laying bricks that will become a school, digging wells that will provide clean water or planting crops that will grow into nourishing food. You’ll see the real results of your work as you volunteer alongside community members on WE Villages development projects— your work will have an impact that will last for generations to come!

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Evening discussion: In the evenings, learn more about WE Charity’s holistic and sustainable community development model, WE Villages. Throughout your trip you will have the opportunity to learn about the five WE Villages Pillars of Impact: Education, Water, Health, Food and Opportunity. Visit with Sumak Ahuana and Maria Angela Pacheco: Maria Angela Pacheco is a leader in her community and an integral part of the local women’s group, Sumak Ahuana, which provides an alternative source of income for women and families in the community. Travel to Maria Angela’s community and meet her and the women’s group. Take a tour of the women’s homes and fields, helping them gather grass to feed their sheep, move the livestock to pasture or harvest crops. Learn how they produce their woolen goods, and take your turn shearing sheep and spinning wool. You’ll have time to hear their stories and discuss why alternative income projects like theirs are so important to their communities. Spanish lessons: Throughout the course of your trip, you will have the opportunity to learn basic Spanish. Knowing a few of the basics in Spanish, including how to say “Hello” and “Goodbye” will be of help when interacting with community members.

We encourage you to practice daily with the local community members.

Final day : Travel to Qui to Say goodbye to the Minga Lodge (and Yolanda, the lodge’s resident parrot!). Return to Quito exploring its historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the ideal backdrop to learn about Ecuador’s colonial past and contemporary struggles. Enjoy your last dinner together as a group and celebrate the change you’ve helped make throughout your time in the Amazon before departing for home. *Please note that each trip experience has slight variations to accommodate our communities, our projects, and to consider the goals and objectives of each specific group. The above is a sample overview, however, a more detailed itinerary will be provided to you closer to your departure date.

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Next-steps checklist Log in to the Trips Portal Confirm your insurance

3. Submit a copy of your passport Please upload a copy of your passport to the Portal as soon as possible to secure your spot on your group flight. If your passport is expiring within six months of returning from your trip, you will need to renew it. However, please still upload a copy of your expiring passport to the Portal in the meantime. When you get your new one, you will be able to upload your updated passport. If necessary, we recommend applying for or renewing your passport as soon as possible. 4. Sign your waivers After you complete your application, our team will email you the waivers that must be signed for your trip. The waivers will be sent to you using an online, electronic signature program called DocuSign. If you are under 18 years old, the waivers will be sent to your parents or legal guardians. If you are 18 years old or older, you will need to sign the waivers for your trip. Please check your junk mail folder for the waivers if you cannot find them in your inbox.

Fill out your online application Upload a copy of your passport Sign your trip waivers through DocuSign (if under 18, will be sent to a parent/guardian for signature) 1. Log in to the Trips Portal Our online Portal is a great way for you to stay on track with completing necessary trip items and access important trip resources. As the date of your trip approaches, resources will be added such as a packing list, trip itinerary and letters from your facilitators. You should have already received a welcome email with your username and password. If you have not received it, please check your junk folder or contact your trip coordinator. To log in, click here . 2. Complete your online Trip Application Through your Portal account you will be able to complete your online application. This form will collect the dietary, medical and parent contact information we need to make sure you have the best trip possible.

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Contact us!

You can contact our team anytime by calling, emailing, or contacting your trip coordinator directly.

416.640.3865

c o o r d i n a t i o n @W E . o r g

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