“Major challenge: not wanting to leave.”


UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Eduardo Manteca
Age: 27
Hometown: Tempe
Nationality: United States and Mexico
University: Arizona State University
Degree: Health Sciences
Languages spoken: English and Spanish
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for the elderly in Quito, Ecuador
Duration: 1 week
Start month: October 2014
Claim to fame: Ed has volunteered with the elderly in Mexico since he was only five years old!

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I decided to become a volunteer through UBELONG after researching what UBELONG had to offer and all that would entail during my stay in Ecuador. I found myself doing countless research to make sure I would be part of something greater and less overwhelming by money and lack of community. I wanted something more than just an experience abroad.

What was your major challenge?
My major challenge was not wanting to leave. It became difficult to say goodbye.

What is your favorite memory?
Playing guitar for the elderly women during my volunteering and my last day. My host family made me a special dinner and cake before my departure. There was so much love and admiration all around the table as we sat and laughed about all that had happened during my stay.
My fondest memories are the ones of having long conversations with the elderly women, especially one in particular named Carmen. Carmen and I became good friends and learned a lot from one another. We laughed at the little things and admired one another for the stories we had to share.

In a sentence or less, best packing advice?
A small day pack with basic essentials for day trips. The day pack should include a copy of your passport, emergency numbers in small note book, change for bus fare, a light jacket and hat, and a water container.

In a sentence or less, what was your funniest moment?
Watching the elderly women as they went about their day. It was a magical and beautiful thing, but also funny to witness them acting like little children when they would scold one another.

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Related post:
Meet Andrew, a University of California Santa Barbara grad who volunteered in Cartago, Costa Rica with UBELONG at a senior citizens center.