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Note from our amazing volunteer Ethan!

I volunteered with Surf Cerrito for three months as a part of my year abroad at the University of Manchester. I had an incredible time. Purely from a personal perspective, I learned to surf, I improved my Spanish and met some lifelong friends.

I felt welcomed into the kind and accepting community of Huanchaco, which is a really cool place to live. It has a real laid-back, surfer-town charm while also being vibrant and fun - i never got bored of the ceviche!

Brayan and Daisy are extremely hard-working, professional and dedicated individuals who are truly committed to their goals of using surfing as a tool of development. I was taken aback at how much time, effort and passion they put into their project, and how they really do believe in it. The fact that Brayan is an active community leader within Cerrito who used surfing as a means of improving his own life was incredibly inspiring to me, and this provides Surf Cerrito with a uniqueness compared to other organisations and NGOs. There is a real sense of community ownership of the surf school - the academy, the boards, the ponchos and the leashes all belong to the kids and the community of Cerrito. There is definitely a sense within the community that the Surf Academy is really valued by Cerrito, with important ties and relationships between the parents and the organisation.

Working with children and young people is always a really rewarding experience, and with Surf Cerrito it is no different. There is a bubbly and vibrant community of personalities at the Surf Cerrito academy, and I would always find myself smiling and laughing with them during the classes - they are honestly hilarious. In a more practical sense, watching them develop their surfing skills, listening to them opening up about how they are feeling, and witnessing them mature as individuals was really incredible. Seeing the giggles of Isabella stand up on a foam board for the first time, the proud elation of Clever as he pushed his boundaries and went further out of his depth, and the smiles of Kahori as she caught her first unassisted wave was uplifting. These young people are truly inspiring, and I feel really grateful to have spent time with them. I really look forward to keep following the Surf Cerrito story - it is an empowering and impressive organization.

Ethan Miller, Manchester University

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