Music volunteer in Quito, Ecuador for 5 weeks

27.5.2018 Day 0 (on a flight from Amsterdam to Quito)

Short version:

on my way to Quito, Ecuador for 5 weeks as a volunteer in a music project with an organization called IVHQ www.volunteerhq.org . The work is part of my practical training in OAMK music pedagogy studies. Details still unknown, more to come.

Long version:

Right, overcoming all these ‘obstacles’ before 7 am at Helsinki airport seems unreasonable, I think;

  • malfunctioning check-in machine -> need to go to the counter
  • selecting the counter with a queue that takes way longer than the other one with people paying for special luggage etc.
  • selecting again the queue that takes waaayy longer than the others at the safety checks due to unknown reasons
  • my backpack gets dismantled as I had forgotten a liquid medicine bottle in there. I wonder if there are people who actually say ‘yes’ when they ask if you want help with repacking your gear after they’ve spread it all over the counter.
  • a massive queue at the tax-free shop -> need to go to a small shop nearby who have crazy overpriced Finnish candy. Wanted to bring something Finnish with me to where-ever-it-is-I’m-going-to.
  • When I finally get to the place where I can have my coffee-croissant breakfast substitute I have a voucher for (and that I believed I would have plenty of time to enjoy), they start boarding -> need to destroy the beautiful dark roast coffee by asking them to add some cold water to it. This is bad.
  • And when I happen to see a reflection of myself in a window, I realize I’ve been parading around with my skirt tucked inside my leggings in the back. Jesus…

Things we are faced with vary, and which ones of them we categorize as problems varies a great deal. But I have to admit; very early that Sunday morning (after several too short nights due to poor life management) there was nothing but annoyances. Luckily on the flight out to Amsterdam the guy sitting next to me turned out to be a very nice one on an captivating mission (you seen those wooden framed sun glasses by Shadeshares?) with whom I was able to engage in an interesting conversation after getting my much-needed second cup of coffee. This is why I love traveling; you meet people with cool stories, people who make things happen.

I’ll never be cool and we’ll see about that getting things done but I am on a mission for the upcoming 5 + 1,5 weeks seeing life from a very different perspective; I’m volunteering in Quito, Ecuador with an organization called International Volunteering HQ (IVHQ) in a music project. What exactly my work will be I will find out when I get there. Tonight I will find out where I’ll be living the next five weeks – a homestay or a volunteers’ commune. Groovy.

I ended up on this 10-bloody-hours long flight to Quito due a number of reasons. This is a part of my studies at Oulu university of applied sciences (OAMK) where I study music pedagogy, my main instrument is pop jazz piano. Secondly, after working as HR manager in several companies that are very much business result oriented, I want to get an idea what the everyday life looks like on the grass root level in an organization working with those in need of help. And last but not least, I desperately needed to get somewhere, anywhere really for a little while; you know the chromosome that controls a person’s desire to travel? I was given an intense type. And I guess my mum knows her daughter as after a tragedy in our family this spring, she told me to go. And hey, when your mum tells you to do something with that serious tone of voice – well, that’s that then.

I don’t really know what to expect; will it be a life-altering I’ll-never-view-the-world-the-same experience, will it be alright, a month from hell or a combo of these – time will tell.

Over and out for now mates.

-marjo törmänen-

PS. On this KLM flight, they have the best flight attendant ever. What a character and what a smile! Always love seeing someone enjoying and being good at what they do. They also had plastic tooth picks. ‘For real?!!’ was my initial reaction. But then I found myself putting it away so that I can reuse it. So which one is environmentally better; reusable plastic tooth pick or one-off wooden one? If I was good at writing lyrics, I’d definitely write a song about this.

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