Debbie volunteered with WorldTeach in Ecuador more than 20 years ago. During her time in the country, she fell in love with one of her adult students; they now have three children and recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary.



Dear WorldTeach,

I was a volunteer in Ecuador in 1992. I started out teaching English at a refinery in the town of Esmeraldas. I weathered strikes, crime, and illness, including malaria and dengue fever. When the year was over, it was hardly the experience I had hoped for.


So, I stayed on for another year, moving around from Quito to Guayaquil. Toward the end of my second year, I subbed for an ex-pat friend teaching two English classes at a law firm. One of the students was Fabricio Lopez. I ran into Fabricio at a mutual friend’s house later that week and the rest, as they say, is history. Within two months, we were engaged and three months later, married! My parents almost passed out. Believe it or not, within a few months of our wedding, I was the first case in an outbreak of cholera! At that point, Fabricio and I decided to head back to the U.S., back to the suburbs of Los Angeles, where I grew up. 


We just celebrated out 20th wedding anniversary. Fabricio became a U.S. citizen, went to law school, and works for Disney. I’ve worked full-time, part-time, and no-time and continue to do a ton of volunteer work while raising three kids.

-Deborah Klein Lopez, WorldTeach Ecuador 1992


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