My name is Brian and I am a first year mature student of Youth and Family Studies in NUIG. I am a proud native of Galway City who is currently in Quito, Ecuador for two months.
Five weeks into this incredible journey and I am finally getting a moment to sit back, take a breath and somehow put this experience into words. While it has only been five weeks, it has that rather surreal feeling where time loses itself. The weeks have flown by and yet it feels like an age since I departed Ireland for this jaunt into the unknown.
I have packed so much into those five weeks that I could sit here for days, scribble endlessly and possibly bore you into submission. I promise not to do that. I will instead attempt to focus on the volunteering aspect of the trip thus far and give a little insight into some of the initiatives I have so far been involved in. Where best to start than the first day of volunteering.
After a couple of weeks of Spanish classes and adjusting to my new but wholly wonderful surroundings, I began my volunteering work in the Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados centre in central Quito.
Fittingly, I began my stint in the centre on World Refugee Day. I was introduced to Piero Chiara, an Italian responsible for communication in the centre. He would be my mentor over the coming weeks. Given that it was World Refugee Day, Piero was scheduled to speak on a local radio station here in Quito about what the centre does and why World Refugee Day is an important date on the calendar to express solidarity with those who have been displaced around the globe. Piero asked if I would like to join him and take some photos for him while he spoke in the studio. Of course, I gladly accepted.
Sitting in the plush surroundings of Radio Municipal 720AM, a Quito radio station that is located in the Centre of Contemporary Art, I was still trying to come to terms with my first day with SRJ.
Piero spoke in his fluent Spanish tongue, most of which I didn´t comprehend but I was content to sit and take photos, happy in the knowledge I had played some small part on World Refugee Day.
On the next update I will report on my experience at the exposition of citizenship and human rights with refugees from CoLombia.
hasta la vista!