the nitty gritty
What are the dates of this trip?
April 11-18 (give or take 1-2 days, depending on flights)
Who can participate in this trip?
Anyone ages 18+. If you are under 18, contact Alicia for more information.
What can we expect to do on the trip?
Though each trip varies and is difficult to plan exactly until a few weeks out, we will likely be involved in breaking ground on a new orphanage in a mountain region, while also doing feeding project to poverty stricken areas. Bless an Orphan's current orphanage is a home for about 20 children ages 0-12 and they are currently int he process of building another one in the mountain regions of Ecuador. While there we will also be going to some villages to deliver food and clothing to kids who don't have access to either of those. While visiting these villages we will likely play some fun games with the kids and maybe do some English lessons. Lastly, we will have a day off to relax and enjoy the touristy parts of Ecuador. Karissa and I have some AWESOME activities planned for that day..
Where will we stay?
In a hotel. It won't be a 5-star Hilton, but it will be comfortable and clean. You will be rooming with another team member.
Is Bless an Orphan affiliated with any religious beliefs?
Yes! Bless and Orphan is a Christian organization, founded on principles of the bible We understand that some of our team members don't share the same beliefs and we respect that, however, if you intend on participating in the trip we ask that you are equally as accepting and understanding of Bless an Orphan's beliefs and practices. We won't ever put you in a situation that you are uncomfortable in and if a situation like that does arise, just ask myself or Karissa to be excused from that particular activity.
How long will each day last?
Each day will vary but most days we will have breakfast around 8AM and end the day around 4PM. Some days we may go out for evening activities.
How many people will be on the team?
This year we are capping the team out at 20 on a first come, first served basis.
Am I responsible for getting my own ticket?
No. You are responsible for getting to New York, where we will depart from. I will take car of the flight purchases from New York to Quito and back.
What will we be eating while in Ecuador?
Typical meals consist of cow tongue, roasted guinea pig, and veggies. Kidding, kidding. While some of those strange "delicacies" may be available, our diet will mostly consist of things that you are very familiar with. I'm not making any promises but we or may not have had Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream one morning.
Is Ecuador a safe place?
In general, yes! Of course you will need to use caution and common sense, but other than that the areas we will visit are very safe. We do ask that team members don't leave the hotel without permission just so that we know where everyone is at all times. We also ask that all women/girls stay in groups of at least 2 or more, just for taking extra precautions.
What kind of transportation will we be using?
We will be driving around Ecuador in vans. Other modes of transportation will be walking and there may or may not be a boat or two involved. :)
What about physicals, vaccinations and prescriptions?
You can consult with your doctor or go to the website for the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov, to get advice on what (if any) vaccinations are recommended. None are required for entry. Many team members take Malaria medicine, but it is entirely up to you and your doctors preference.
What if I don't speak Spanish?
No habla espanol? Me either. We will have translators there to help us communicate but you will find that body and sign language goes a long way. Ultimately, love is a universal language and no child will resist you loving on them.
How much spending money should i bring?
I generally recommend $200 cash, in bills smaller than $20's. This will be enough to get you some small little trinkets and well as a couple nicer souvenirs. If you want to be safe, you can bring $300 and that should be PLENTY.
They use USD in Ecuador, so that is very convenient. :) Also keep in mind that you will want money for the airports. I've found many times that I'll spend $20-50 at the airport while waiting around for flights...and if you are only bringing $200 cash then the airport money takes away a nice chunk of it. You can also bring your ATM card or a pre-loaded visa. While you won't be able to use that in the market or for small snacks, you will be able to get to an ATM if need be.
What is the electrical situation?
The same as America. :)
Are there emergency phone numbers that I can give to family members?
Yes, coming soon! We will make sure you get all this information well in advance
Will we have Internet access?
Not on a regular basis. We will make sure you get to an Internet cafe at least once during the trip but we ask that you prepare family members and friends to not hear from you until you return. We want you to be able to focus on your work there and it can become very distracting to have access to email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.. We promise, they will all be there when you get back home.. Have your family members and friends follow the Bless an Orphan facebook page, where Karissa will be updating daily with our activities and pictures.
If I have to back out of the trip after I put in my retainer, can I get my money back?
Unfortunately, no, because tickets are non-changeable.
Will there be any team meetings before the trip to Ecuador?
No, but we have a Facebook group for everyone to connect and start getting to know each other.
What will we do for water?
What we WON'T do is drink from the tap. Unless you want to get a parasite or two. There will be bottled water provided for us and we ask that you use only the water that Bless an Orphan has provided, unless approved by Alicia. or Karissa