FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VOLUNTEERING
Who lives in Hosteria Pachamama?
Micaela is the permanent resident of Pachamama and other volunteers who are there at the same time. There are also several members of Micaela’s family who live nearby, so we have the opportunity to work with and learn from them about the local Kichwa culture.
What language do you speak at home?
In the house we speak the dominant language of the volunteers. Spanish is often used and encouraged however for those less adept, English is widely spoken. We are also free to speak in any other language we like if there are others present who wish to speak it as well.
What is the minimum stay?
There is no minimum stay however most volunteers stay for at least two weeks, this allows them to really feel comfortable in the school and to gain as much as possible from their experience.
Do I need a visa?
For trips of less than 90 days the Ecuadorian government supplies a free travellers visa upon entry. It is recommended to enter as a tourist for short-term stays. For stays of longer than 90 days there are two options: extend the tourist visa or get a volunteer visa.
How many students are there in the school and how old are they?
The age of the students varies depending on the class that is being taught, with the age groups including: 6-8 year olds, 9-13, 14-18 and 18+. The size varies day to day as the classes are not mandatory however you can expect anywhere between 5-20 students per class.
Can I teach other subjects or languages?
English is the only language taught every day and within that we teach numerous subjects including numbers and words for the younger kids, to discussions on news and politics with the adults. Any ideas or other languages are always welcome and can be discussed with the coordinator in advance or in person.
When volunteers stays for more than one month and they are willing to do it, the foundation helps them. Previously, former volunteers have taught French, German or music therapy.
How much do you pay me for the volunteering?
The fantastic opportunity to volunteer with SKY is unpaid however you will be given a certificate of proof of your time teaching in Salasaca if requested. You will also have the opportunity to learn new skills and immerse yourself in Ecuador in a way rarely experienced by regular travellers.
Do I get days off?
The school operates Monday-Thursday with tasks on Fridays. However every volunteer has the weekends free to explore Salasaca or the rest of Ecuador. Places just a few hours away include Baños, Quilotoa, Puyo, Cuenca, Quito and many others. Many volunteers also use the weekends to travel Ecuador together improving the experience of exploring a new country.
Do you cover my travel expenses?
We do not cover your travel expenses to Pachamama or during your time spent with us. However, advice and help will be given getting to Salasaca for your arrival and any other trips you go on whilst you are here.
What is the weather like in Salasaca?
In Salasaca we experience the four seasons in as little as one day. During the day and when the sun is shining it can become very warm however at night it can get much colder and windy.
What is your address?
The most accurate address is: Hosteria Pachamama, Via al Rosario, Comunidad Patuloma, Salasaca, Tungurahua Provence, Ecuador. In the rural areas of Ecuador, there are not postal code, number of building and street name.
Is Salasaca safe?
Salasaca is a very safe community with little crime and no threat to foreign volunteers. You will be welcome by locals who appreciate the work you do as well as the family of the foundation’s coordinator and president.
What insurance should I purchase? Is there a hospital?
Travel insurance is always recommended when traveling a foreign country however you will not require a special kind as a volunteer. There is also a hospital in Salasaca that is open to all. We cannot recommend any because it depends on your country and personal situation.
Which cellphone service provider works best in Salasaca?
Claro is the best cellphone provider in Ecuador and Salasaca.
How do I withdraw money from the ATM?
If you want to withdraw money from the ATM, you need to go to nearby cities like Ambato or Pelileo. In these cities, volunteers have no problem withdrawing money in banks such as Pichincha or International bank. If you want to go with Micaela, ask her.
What clothes shall I bring?
Clothes for all weather are recommended due to the varied nature of the climate. There are no requirements of what to wear during the classes and comfortable clothes and flip flops for the house are recommended. Also anything for excursions during your stay such as swimming costume for the coast, warm clothes for hikes, and suncream for the sun.
Is it recommended to bring hiking boots?
Though Salasaca itself is a town that doesn’t require hiking boots to get around we recommend bringing them, as Ecuador is a mountainous country and some great activities include exploring the peaks and volcanoes that make up the Ecuadorian Andes.
Do I need to bring bed sheets or a sleeping bag?
All bedding is provided by Hosteria Pachamama, so you are not required to bring anything.
Should I bring a head torch?
Though a head torch is not necessary for Salasaca, they are often recommended on some of the more adventurous hikes, if you plan on traversing some of the higher peaks, such as Chimborazo and Cotopaxi.
Do you have warm water, electricity and Wifi?
Warm water, electricity and WiFi are provided all through Hosteria Pachamama 24/7 and they are included in your $30 fee per week to stay. You can also drink the tap water or boil it, as you feel more comfortable.
Should I bring my computer?
It is not necessary to bring your computer. It depends on your needs. Salasaca is a safe place to bring it, if you want to. It will be useful to prepare the English classes and it is a great tool to watch movies all together.
Do you have a washing machine?
There is not a washing machine in Hosteria Pachamama itself, volunteers push themselves to hand wash their clothes as the local Kichwa do. However, the foundation’s president do have a washing machine that volunteers can use, if they pay an extra fee.
What do we normally eat?
Every week, volunteers buy their groceries together using the $30 fee that they all pay. With this money volunteers buy a range of local fruits and vegetables as well as bread, cheese, eggs and dried goods such as pasta, rice and other grains. Luxuries such as meat, fish and sweets can be bought but must be paid with volunteers own money. Therefore, volunteers eat a vegetarian based menu.
Are there shops and supermarkets in Salasaca?
There are plenty of shops and supermarkets that sell most of the things that a volunteer would need and there are also the nearby towns of Ambato and Pelileo that sell everything else. In Salasaca, there are pharmacies, bakeries and butcherings.