Steve Vaughan documents his journey to Ecuador, where he worked coaching and playing football with local children
Diary of a New Arrival in Ecuador
“The family I am staying with is fantastic, and my Spanish is improving by the hour! I am having Spanish lessons and the teacher is fantastic as are my family who are also helping me with my Spanish.
I have had two games of football here with the other voluntarios (volunteers) and it has been great fun. It made me laugh though as on the football pitch they could not afford more than one flood light so they only brought one, and to make best use of it they put it right in the middle of the pitch!
My first days in the slum were quite an experience, there is a great deal of poverty here and the children that we met looked really quite poor. Covered in scratches and bruises and in clothes that were ripped and the wrong size. But after half an hour of playing around on the football pitch we had them all smiling and playing. We are working at a church that has some extra land in the slums. The football and English take place here, and this is where I am going to be based mainly!
We all decided to go to the beach for the weekend and headed off at 5am on Saturday morning to get a bus. We got there at about 10am and spent a little while wondering the streets before finding a place to stay, hiring a villa for seven of us, a beautiful little bungalow less than 1 minutes walk from the beach where we stayed on Saturday night. It was absolutely beautiful and the sea was so warm. I went swimming and wave jumping during the day and have started working on my tan! The palm tree lined beach, the fine sand, the crystal clear ocean with water warmer than most of the baths I take in England!
On Sunday it was more of the same, swimming and football on the beach with locals who were really good players. The skill level is awesome and they are really committed. They may be half your size and stature but they are not afraid of trying to put their body between you and the ball! They won’t let you rest either. That is the one major thing I have learned from playing with them so far, the ability to throw your body between another player and the ball, it gets physical at times but is the best way to regain possession of the ball. So watch out for the new tactics and skills when I come back!”