After months of preparing for what will be one of the most challenging, educational and exciting times in our lives we are finally here, in Nuevo Gualcho. A once in a life time opportunity, one that we all hope we will really get stuck into.  One where we will try to not let any opportunity we're given pass us by. We have no idea what to expect yet, but we all know that this is going to be an experience where we will grow, mature and become better human beings because of it. Some of us have done something similar to this project in the past and for others this is the very first time. One thing is for sure, despite our different personalities, ages and experiences we're all ready and looking forward to the adventure ahead. 

We start the week by putting our Spanish lessons to use, now that we are here, we realize how much impact language has on the progression of the project. However wishing that we had practiced more Spanish at home will not help us now and we are all still amazed how communication can work in so many other ways. The language barrier hasn’t stopped us from being motivated and enthusiastic about the project.  

As a team it seems we are adapting well, the culture shock is something that we all feel and community are extremely welcoming. It’s a closed community so we all feel safe and slowly but surely we are all adapting to the new climate. The community is absolutely stunning, Nuevo Gualcho is a beautiful place and there are definitely no complaints from us Brits (hope everyone back home is enjoying the rain.)

Our first team task was litter picking, we were all apprehensive on how well it was going to go. The UK volunteers were not as aware of the problem of rubbish in the community in comparison to the national volunteers, so it was a great way to learn about how serious the problem was. It was also a great way to see a part of the community that we had not been to yet.  It was more than a success and there was an evident difference in the appearance of the park. It was really great to see how well the international and national volunteers worked together, we make a great team. 

We ended a hard, productive, yet enjoyable first week on a high by going to the beach. What a beautiful way to end the first week by swimming in the Pacific Ocean. It was a great way to bond, get to know each other and refresh us for the week ahead. We all feel optimistic that this is going to be an amazing project and excited for the changes were going to see. 

UK volunteers Victoria Poku Amanfo and Natalie Fordham