Name: Nicole Hirsch
Hometown: Karlsruhe, Germany
Languages spoken: German, English (fluent), Spanish (intermediate)
Volunteer Abroad: Forest conservation in the Amazon, Ecuador
Duration: 4 weeks
Start month: November 2018
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I decided to become a volunteer because I wanted to experience the country from a different perspective. When volunteering, you have the opportunity to stay in one place longer than just a few days, meet locals and discover amazing things about the culture and wildlife of the place. When I decided to become a volunteer I never thought I would also have so much fun there.
What was your impact on your volunteer project?
We did mostly maintenance work. The things that I can look back on are the benches we built, the new roof for the botanical garden, the road signs and the cleaning of the banana plantations. Feeding the animals was an important part in our daily lives and I remember going one morning to feed the Pecaris (pigs) and discovering one pig had a little baby overnight.
What is your favorite memory?
That is a really hard question. I would say the moment we saw the sunrise over the jungle, 30 meters above the ground on the observation tower at 5 o’clock in the morning. But also just swimming in the Napo after hard work, seeing the monkeys climb trees right next to me or the evenings spent playing games with the other volunteers.
In a sentence or less, best packing advice?
A ton of shirts – you’ll sweat a lot.