After participating in Putney’s 2021 Service program in Ecuador & the Galápagos, Lucas O. decided to use his capstone course project as an opportunity to give back to the village of Chilcapamba, which hosts Putney students each summer. We spoke to him recently to hear more about his fundraising project and goals. You can donate here if you would like to contribute!

Can you tell us about your project?

My project has been about getting better access to water in the village of Chilacapamba and more specifically improving the infrastructure to resolve electrical problems with the water supply system. The village has had problems with the water for years now; sometimes the water supply is better and sometimes it is worse. The villagers reached out to a company to get a quote for the work because they don’t have the tools or training needed to complete the work.

Where did the idea for this fundraiser originate? What was it about your Putney experience there that made you choose Chilcapamba for your capstone project?

The idea for this project came from talking to the villagers both when I was there and through text after my visit, then I got help to develop it with further conversations with Edwardo from the village and Lauren from Putney. After a few village meetings, they came to me with exactly what needed to be done to fix the problems.

My experience in Chilcapamba was so special and memorable that when I needed to plan a project for my capstone course, I knew exactly what I was going to do. My first choice for my project was helping the village, so I texted Edwardo and went from there.

What are your hopes and goals for the project and beyond?

My goals for this project are helping to make the lives of the villagers better because they had a huge impact on my life and forever changed my views on the world. The villagers and this project helped me learn so much, and not just Spanish. Through this project, I’ve improved skills like coordination, communication, and collaboration. Beyond this project I hope to stay in contact with my village friends and possibly help them later on down the road with whatever they need at that point in time.

What was your biggest takeaway from your experience in Ecuador, and what’s one thing you would say to a student considering a Putney Service program?

The biggest takeaway from my experience in Ecuador was how you have to let go and take risks to have a genuinely great experience. You cannot hold back. You also may find something that you really love or a career path you want to follow. The one thing I would tell anyone traveling with Putney is just do it, go for it, you will have the best summer of your life. You will learn so much and never forget your experiences or the people you meet in Ecuador.

Consider donating to Lucas’ fundraiser for Chilcapamba here.