Volunteer Peru, The coordinator went out of her way to be helpful and show us around Cuzco. When we arrived at the airport she was waiting for us and was helpful at finding me a second volunteer position during the mornings.
1.- Whats was a daily schedule at the program, hours volunteered?
In the morning I woke up at 7:10, ate breakfast and walked to the kindergarten which was approximately 20 min away from my home. I worked there from 8-1 every week day. Then I walked back to my house, ate lunch, and went to the orphanage from 2:20-5 or 5:30. On weekends I traveled with my friend Madison and we explored Cuzco and the surrounding areas.
2.- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Host Family: I was surprised by how interested the host family was in connecting with us. Even though my Spanish is not perfect, the grandmother of our host family spent a lot of time talking to us and making sure we were comfortable.
Gap Year Program: The self sufficiency of the girls at the orphanage. They have a very clear schedule.
Country: How exhausting the altitude is.
3.- What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Host Family: The host family was sick while we were here which was just a little difficult.
Volunteer Program: Connecting with the girls at the orphanage was difficult because my Spanish isn´t perfect and they are all pretty good friends already so it can be difficult to jump into their conversations.
Country: Bargaining every time we wanted to take a taxi. It was fine, but a little tiring after a while.
4.- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, money, internet)
Bring altitude pills, sunscreen, and bug spray. Our homestay had internet but it was often spotty, don´t expect to be able to use wifi at the homestay to call home consistently, if you´re spending a lot of time here I´d suggest buying a sim card here.
5.- Other things volunteers should know before coming here:
Host Family: They are very friendly and nice.
Program: Your main role in the orphanage is to talk to the girls and maybe help them with homework, which is really good to know before you get here.
Country: It´s an incredibly beautiful country and super fun.
6.- How would you describe your accommodation: meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
Meals: Good, a lot of quinoa and carbs. Soup was served at most meals and lunch is the main meal of the day.
Security: Very good, we had a security guard in our building which was comforting. I wouldn´t suggest walking at night in some areas, some areas are much safer than others. I never felt uncomfortable in the downtown Plaza de Armas area.
friendliness: Everyone was very friendly, more than expected.
7- How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country: Airport, orientation, introduction to the program, schedule of the program, friendliness, solving problems?
Very good. She went out of her way to be helpful and show us around Cuzco. When we arrived at the airport she was waiting for us and was helpful at finding me a second volunteer position during the mornings.
8.- Whats was a daily schedule at the program, hours volunteered, activities you did?
In the orphanage we helped peel vegetables in the kitchen and painted cups in ceramic class. At the kindergarten I was essentially a teachers aid and helped keep the kids focused on their tasks.
9.- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
Accommodation: Going to a rustic restaurant with our host´s entire extended family. It was very good food in a beautiful setting and the entire family was very nice.
Program: Playing with all the young children at the kindergarten.
Country: Machu Picchu and the mountains were incredibly beautiful. It was an incredible experience in general.
10.- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling? Emails, chat online, calls, volunteer guide:
Sarah was incredibly helpful
11.- What do you think about the reservation system online?
It was fairly good.
12.- Who did you find Abroaderview website ?
I found it with my mom a few years ago when I did another ABV program to Costa Rica.
13.- Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?