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Wednesday, 01 March 2023

Volunteering at Bee Farm Ecuador Featured

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Volunteering oversees can be a great opportunity for self-discovery, skill-building, and new relationships. The internet is flooded with countless examples of young travelers hopping on airplanes to teach English in Thailand or live on an animal sanctuary in Kenya. This became all the clearer to me as I scrolled through the hundreds of options on my computer. I had decided that I wanted to do something that would place me deep in nature, so farm-work seemed like a safe bet. A farm in the jungle of Northern Ecuador caught my attention as a sure-fire way to learn new skills off the grid and experience South America at the same time.

I sent in my application and heard back about two days later. Unfortunately, the farm in the North was a no go but there was an option high up in the Andes. A bee farm located about an hour outside Quito needed some volunteers. With nothing to lose, I signed myself up as a helping hand on an Ecuadorian apiary. If only I had known how many times my “helping hands” would be stung.




The apiary was in a gorgeous part of the Ecuadorian Andes about an hour South of the country’s capital Quito. Lush farmlands, volcanoes with Quechan names, and women in traditional Andean dress were common sites in this stretch of Ecuador known as the “Avenue of Volcanoes”. When I arrived at the farm, I felt like I was walking into a Laura Ingalls Wilder novel. The small cabin where I would be staying had a massive fireplace, roosters called out the arrival of the sun every morning, and of course bees were buzzing all about.

My first few days of life on the farm consisted of helping with household chores, getting the lay of the land, and of course getting to know the amazing family who I would be spending my time with on the ranch. Gabby and David, the couple who ran the apiary were some of the kindest people I had ever met and knew how to make a mean Ecuadorian breakfast. Gabby’s father, Pepe, a former pilot was full of jokes and information. Any plant he saw, from those that could make you hallucinate while almost killing you to those that could cure skin ailments, Pepe knew exactly what it was.

Gabby and David’s two daughters were excited to learn English as much as I was excited to learn Spanish, so we spent plenty of afternoons exchanging words. I can say for a fact that they taught me far more Spanish than I taught them English.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 01 March 2023

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