The Corbridge family, UK
Our family of 5 spent one week in July 2015 at Reserva Mundo Verde. Luis and Wyndi welcomed us into their home and we soon became good friends. We did a variety of work including milking cows, planting trees, hauling wood, digging a fish pond and picking coffee beans. Each day was different and the work was age appropriate for our 10 year old daughter and teenage boys. After working each day we enjoyed our time in Las Tolas. We visited a sugar cane processing farm, went on a bird watching hike, and enjoyed practicing our Spanish with the people from the village. Our kids played soccer with the local kids almost every night and our daughter made several friends. The people are very friendly and we felt like family by the end of the week. Luis and Wyndi are fantastic hosts and it was hard to say good bye to them when our week was over. I will enjoy watching their progress on their Facebook page. I am glad our family had this opportunity to volunteer at Reserva Mundo Verde.
Mai Trinh, Vietnam
I was a volunteer at RMV for three weeks in June 2015. The first week I was by myself, I was warmly welcomed by Wyndi and Luis (super loving and great-hearted young couple) as well as all the people of Las Tolas. They introduced me to their day-to-day work, which was fascinating to me. I always enjoyed the morning motorbike ride to the Reserva, with amazing sceneries all along the way. And best of all, I now know how to milk cows! The working days varied, some were harder others easier, all depending on the work load. You just can’t get bored! Wyndi fed us with hearty meals of Ecuadorian starches with a Western twist…plus you get to enjoy lunches with beautiful views. I was lucky enough that for the second and third week, my boyfriend joined me; this made my time at RMV even more memorable! We started building the house on the Reserva that included a lot of hard work but were all very rewarding. During the weekend, we were free and went to the nearby Mindo, lot of fun! The time here for us flew by so fast, we cannot thank Luis and Wyndi enough for this opportunity! Muchas graciaaas!!!
Kirsteen Laing, Canada
I had the privilege of staying with Luis and his family for two weeks in June 2014. The family was very welcoming and hospitable. I loved getting up every morning knowing that I would be working outside and contributing in my own small way to the community. The work was varied, physical and always interesting. I also loved playing with the children when I came back from work each day. The community is situated on a ridge in the cloud forest and the views in all directions were amazing. Luis and his new wife Wyndi have been doing lots of work to develop Reserva Mundo Verde as I was able to witness when I went back to visit them for a few days at the end of November.
I stayed in Reserva Mundo Verde for a week. Luis and his wife Wyndi were very welcoming and warm people. We stayed in a cute house right next to Luis’ parents. Lovely people! Just like the rest of the village. The trip to the farm every morning was an adventure. The views from the milk truck were stunning. Nature at its best! Gathering all the cows before milking was good exercise and lots of fun. We planted lots of trees and did everything at our own pace, enjoying the environment. I felt great during my stay in Las Tolas. Mentally and physically. It’s amazing how happy people can be here. Without any luxury, only the basics. We can all learn a lot from them.
I wanted to get out and explore different parts of the world and Reserva Mundo Verde turned out to be the perfect place for me! Despite the late night arrival in Las Tolas, Luis welcomed me like family and I got started with work early the next day. My first morning there I remember waking up to the sound of roosters as opposed to the car horns like back home in Philly and thinking “What have I gotten myself into?” But the town, the people, the wildlife, and the nature all make Reserva Mundo Verde one of the most unique places to stay. I’ll always miss waking up to go milk cows and build the greenhouse along with the infectious smiles of the people. Luis is the man with the plan, and an ambitious one at that. He is a ton of fun to be around – teaching me how to dance, taking myself and other volunteers to fiestas, and playing in the community’s soccer games – but at the end of the day he never forgets his project, for he has a true dream of impacting the world and his community. Volunteering here, you feel like everything you do, no matter how small, makes a difference at the everyday level of the peoples’ lives and I enjoyed every minute of my stay. Shout out to Luis! Good luck to you bro!
Emma Swann, Australia
I volunteered with Luis in the community of Las Tolas in October 2010 and had the experience of a lifetime. Luis is a really special person and knows how to look after volunteers. He was always concerned about whether I was having a good time and how he could make my volunteer experience any better. It didn’t matter that my Spanish wasn’t at a high level, with his English and my Spanish we could communicate wonderfully. Luis is a true expert on his home environment and knows so much about the cloud forest ecosystem and it’s endemic species. His property is absolutely spectacular – a mixture of pasture and cattle and wild cloud forest. With Luis I learned how to milk a cow, build a house, clear forest paths with a machete, make cheese, work in the organic vegetable gardens, and dance salsa (well – I learned a little bit of salsa, Luis is seriously talented and a great teacher but I was a terrible student!) I also taught English to the gorgeous local kids and went on site seeing trips with Luis as a guide to nearby Mindo and the excellent indigenous museum in Tulipe. I really liked how flexible the volunteer experience was and I could choose whatever it was that I wanted to do. If you want to really get to know the locals in Ecuador and contribute to a truly worthwhile environmental project while helping the local community, I highly recommend volunteering at Reserva Mundo Verde.