Volunteer Peru: It has been an interesting experience volunteering in Cusco. It changed my perspective as to how things are done in another country. I found the dentists at the hospital to be quite skillful with the limited resources.
1.- Whats was a daily schedule at the program, hours volunteered?
I would wake up at around 7:30 am, have breakfast with Marie Elena. I would volunteered from 8:30am until 12:30 pm, come home and have lunch with family. Some afternoons were spent volunteering, and some afternoons were spent sightseeing.
2.- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Host Family: Marie Elena is very kind, and supportive. She made us feel right at home, always had fresh warm, and delicious food ready for us.
Program: I worked in dental clinics, and noticed that there is lack of dental restorative materials. The dentists and dental students have very good skills, but lack equipment and supplies, bring donations.
Country: I was surprised how cold Cusco was, especially at night. Also, I was surprised at the skill level of the dentists at the hospital. They are quite capable, but lack instruments and equipment.
3.- What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Host Family: Marie Elena was very nice, and made sure I had a good experience here. There were no challenges for our family with regards to the accommodation.
Program: There was a strike at Cusco when we were here, and therefore not too many patients at the hospital. But I still was able to see a fair amount of patients at the hospital. The challenge at the hospital is the lack of supplies and equipment.
Country: I did not expect the high altitude to bother me as much as it did. I had a hard time breathing for the first couple of days. It did get better as time went by, but I find I get tired very quickly, and I think it has to do with the high altitude.
4.- Any tips for future volunteers…
Make sure you bring warm clothing, it gets really cold at night. Take it easy for the first couple of days until your body adjusts to the high altitude if you are over 50. To dental students and dentist volunteers, bring dental supplies if you can, they can really use it and will appreciate it.
5.- Other things volunteers should know before coming here (besides Spanish):
Host Family: We stayed with Marie Elena, and she took real good care of our family. She made sure we were comfortable, and well taken care of. She also gave us very good tips about Cusco, and outings.
Program: Come with an open mind, things may not always go as smoothly as you expect. You may experience a different way of doing things at volunteer location, but will have the opportunity to learn a lot.
Country: Cusco is a big city, and is quite safe. Sometimes things get done at a slower pace that you are used to. People are very nice and always ready to help you.
Volunteering in Peru
6.- Personal Paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial):
It has been an interesting experience volunteering in Cusco. It changed my perspective as to how things are done in another country. I found the dentists at the hospital to be quite skillful with the limited resources. Cusco is very safe, and people are really nice here. Marie Elena was really helpful during our stay here.
7.- How would you describe your accommodation: meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
Meals: The food was always prepared fresh daily, and was always delicious.
Security: I felt very safe in the house that I lived in. It was in a nice neighborhood
friendliness: Marie Elena is the best. Very friendly and welcoming
Volunteering in Peru
7.1.- Score the following from 1 to 10:
- Quality of meals: 10
- Quantity of each meal: 10
- How clean was the house: 10
- How safe was the house: 10
8.- 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?
Marie Elena met us at the airport when we arrived. She is very friendly, kind and supportive. She gave us tips how to navigate the city. She also took time and effort to make sure that we are happy at the volunteer location.
9.- Whats was a daily schedule at the program, hours volunteered, activities you did?
Usually volunteered from 8:30 to 12:30 pm. Sometimes volunteered in the afternoon also. The first week, I worked at the hospital. The second week I was working in the orphanage.
10.- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
Accommodation: We had a surprise good bye lunch. Marie Elena make delicious food, and desert from scratch, with fresh flowers on the table. We felt very special. We will miss her.
Program: My favorite memory is of people I met at the hospital and orphanage. I was surprised how resourceful the doctors were, and how patient the patients were. Everyone is very polite and respectful.
Country: I enjoyed the beautiful mountains, and scenery. We travelled to Machu Picchu and although it was a challenge, it was worth it. The people have a simple life and I learned a lot.
11.- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling? Emails, chat online, calls, volunteer guide:
Support was very good online. Emails were answered promptly.
12.- What do you think about the reservation system online?
Online support was very good. Answered all my questions