Volunteer Peru, My going away party at the orphanage was so lovely. The girls prepared a big poster with me and some made small gifts for me. I brought a cake, cookies, chips and sodas. The leader of the program did a little speech and then some of the girls talked.
Volunteer Peru Testimonial
1.- What was a daily schedule at the program, hours volunteered?
I typically would go to the orphanage at 8am. I would assist the girls in the ceramics class. Midmorning they would take a break and I would help with homework, teach English or teach an exercise class. We would then return to ceramics and I would stay until 1230. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with the girls and getting to know them. I would share with them about my life and they would share with me about there’s.
The orphanage is an active place and I had to be flexible with my plans. One day I got to accompany the girls in the fields and pick ‘abas’ (kind of like lima beans), one day I helped the girls prepare foods and decorate for a celebration that would happen later that day, another day we all watched Peru in the world cup. There were always activities going on I could participate in or assist in.
2.- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Host Family: The host family was so warm and welcoming from day 1. It didn’t take any time for them to warm up. It was also really nice to be included in the family’s activities such as Maria Elena’s daughter’s birthday party, and a reunion of Maria Elena’s college friends.
Another really sweet thing was that Maria Elena made a special meal for me and the other volunteer from the USA on the 4thof July. The food was INCREDIBLE and for sure reminded me of home It was so thoughtful of her to make a special meal for us and for her to celebrate with us so that we wouldn’t feel homesick not being with family on such a big day.
Also Maria Elena was full of advice of places to eat, places to go and things to do! It was very helpful to have someone who knew the city so well and had a good sense of what I would like.
I felt so welcomed and comfortable the whole time! As well as very supported.
Program: I felt very included in the activities and I felt like the leaders and the girls in the orphanage had my back. For example, one day we went out in the city and someone tried to overcharge me and one of the girls quickly stood up for me and asked for the rest of the money. It was really sweet to feel a part of the group and not a visitor.
Country: The people are very respectful and more formal than I was used to. I did volunteer work in Nicaragua and studied abroad in Spain both countries I was very frequently cat-called. That almost never happened in Peru, it was really refreshing. I felt very accepted, welcomed and safe in Peru. I really really like the people here, lovely people.
3.- What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Host Family: I really didn’t experience any challenges with the host family. And if I did, I felt so supported and there was trust built that I would have felt comfortable telling them.
Program: Because I am fluent in Spanish people talk to me. And the girls at the orphanage a few times shared some gossip with me and didn’t want me talking to one of the other girls at the orphanage. I felt like they had put me in the middle and it was a bit of an uncomfortable feeling, but I was able to find my balance in listening to the girls and not encouraging gossip.
Country: I would have liked to make some local friends my age, but I didn’t really have a lot of time to do so, it was also hard to get to know local people my age. I don’t know if there could have been a social with university students, or if there is some sort of language intercambio/exchange with students learning English that I could have attended to make local friends.
Go Overseas to Peru
4.- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, money, internet)
Bring a hat for sure, the sun is intense. Also bring lots of socks. I re-wore clothes a few times but re-wearing socks were kind of gross. Good hand lotion would be good too because it is very cold and very dry and my skin got pretty dry here.
5.- Other things volunteers should know before coming here (besides Spanish):
Host Family: You will feel so at home!! Maria Elena has got your back, she is a lovely host mom
Message her ahead of time so you are in contact and she has a way to reach you when you are at the airport and traveling. Also the food is amazing so come with an appetite 😉
Program: If you have an idea of something you would like to do, feel free to speak up and let them know. They are open to ideas. Also, bring some games from the US. They already know UNO so maybe another one to teach them, the girls really enjoyed that. Something that isn’t language-based – Jenga, puzzles, etc.
Country: Bring your own toilet paper everywhere. Also, it’s colder than you would think. If you have a sensitive stomach/system you should bring your favorite remedies from home because products are different here. For example, bring Dramamine if you get motion sick because if you travel there are some long drives on some curvy roads.
6.- Personal Paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial):
This has been one of my favorite travels of my whole life. I have done a lot of traveling and have had mostly good experiences but my time with ABV has been one of my favorites of all of my travels. The host family experience was incredible.
My host Mom welcomed me with open arms from day one and was always checking in on me to be sure that I had everything I needed to be comfortable and feel supported. The experience with the director, wonderful- I have felt so supported throughout the whole process.
I really enjoyed my volunteer site- an orphanage. I was able to really build relationships with the girls in the orphanage over my month long time with them. The girls were so welcoming and inclusive of me, I really felt like part of the family.
I enjoyed hearing their stories and they were interested and asked me questions about my life too. I also really enjoyed my Spanish classes which I had for 4 hours a day in a group of 2.
My classes were designed specifically to meet my needs and where I am at as well as where I would like to be. Additionally, the classes had a component of conversation that would often happen out in the streets in a local market or museum.
Also, Maria Elena helped me to plan weekend trips with a local travel agency and I was soooo thankful for that help because there are SO many travel agencies and I would have no idea which ones were good and which ones were not.
Literally, everything was wonderful- the program, the city, the host family the trips, the food and the lodging. Everything went so smoothly and I feel like I learned a lot about a new culture and was hopefully able to encourage some girls in need about their value and encourage them in general with life decisions. So thankful for this time. I would recommend this program to any and everyone!!
Volunteer Trip Peru
7.- How would you describe your accommodation: meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
Meals: Meals were lovely. Fresh fruit was always available which I really appreciated. Maria Elena provided a really nice variety of food, we had chicken, pork, eggs, beef. She was always mixing it up. She also switched up the soups a lot too.
The variety gave a good taste of lots of local foods and kept it interesting. She was also sensitive to American tastes…. not serving us any organs or intestines which can be common but I wouldn’t really want to try necessarily.
Tea and hot beverages were always on hand which was welcoming in such cold weather. Also fresh clean safe to eat veggies were provided often which was a lovely addition.
Security: I felt very safe the whole time, a safe neighborhood and a safe city. I didn’t feel like such a tourist and like I stood out even though I am very fair skinned. I felt comfortable and at peace walking around. The locals are very friendly and many lookouts for tourists.
Friendliness: So kind and friendly. I really felt like part of the family. So thankful for the time I had. From day one I felt at home, welcomed, comfortable to ask anything. Wonderful host family experience!!
Quality: Very nice place to stay, cozy and comfortable. Great location. Comfortable bed, nice bathroom, storage, TV, Netflix.
7.1.- Score the following from 1 to 10:
Quality of meals: _10__ if under 5, what was the issue:
Quantity of each meal: _10__ if under 5, what was the issue:
How clean was the house: _10__ if under 5, what was the issue:
How safe was the house: _10__ if under 5, what was the issue:
8.- How were the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country: Airport, orientation, introduction to the program, schedule of the program, friendliness, solving problems?
Maria Elena was amazing! So helpful, thoughtful, kind, supportive and always available. Maria Elena was waiting at the airport for me with a sign, a smile and a warm hug. She walked me around the city so that I could have a feel for where things were. She showed me bus routes and stops.
And she went with me my first day so that I would know how to get to my site and back as well as to introduce me to the leaders of the organization and help me to get oriented.
Maria Elena always helped me to coordinate with the leaders at the orphanage special activities such as the talk I gave and the goodbye party I had. She worked with me and my Spanish teacher to make a schedule that worked best and was always quick to communicate with me if something changed. ME was always friendly and responsive.
Thankfully I didn’t really encounter any problems that needed to be solved. That being said, Maria Elena was frequently checking in on me to be sure that everything was going well and to ask me if I needed anything or if I was encountering any problems/ wanted anything to be different.
Volunteering in Peru Cusco
9.- Whats was a daily schedule at the program, hours volunteered, activities you did?
I typically would go to Orphanage at 8am. I would assist the girls in the ceramics class. Midmorning they would take a break and I would help with homework, teach English or teach an exercise class. We would then return to ceramics and I would stay until 1230. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with the girls and get to know them.
After I would finish volunteering in the orphanage I would head back to my host family’s home, I would eat lunch and then have a little bit of downtime before my 4 hour Spanish class block. After my Spanish class was over I would either stay in the city center and eat dinner or return to my host family’s place for dinner.
10.- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
Accommodation: I really enjoyed being included in my host family’s BBQ for my host Mom’s daughter’s birthday. I made a cake with the other girl in my program- which was a lot of fun trying to figure out how to bake in a higher altitude. While we were working on that Maria Elena was working on the food as was her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend.
I helped cut the cake, serve, clean etc. I felt just like I was at home helping with a family event. It also was a lot of fun meeting more of the family and genuinely feeling welcomed as part of it.
Volunteer Program: My going away party at the orphanage was so lovely. The girls prepared a big poster with me and some made small gifts for me. I brought a cake, cookies, chips and sodas. The leader of the program did a little speech and then some of the girls talked. I then received the card and through a few tears shared with the girls how thankful I am for each one of them.
I really got to know the girls and build relationships with them. It was so hard to say goodbye—which really indicates a lot of love and relationships built.
Country: It is so hard to choose just one favorite memory of the country. It is such an amazing place!! I got to do and see so much!
But I really enjoyed my day trip to Rainbow Mountain. The food was so good and there was lovely comradery amongst the fellow adventurers. It is in such a rural area which was really fun to experience culturally to see how other people in the world live.
Riding a horse up the mountain was a lot of fun and was relaxing. And once we got to the top it was absolutely amazing! Soo beautiful! Even better than the pictures if that is even possible. The guide was great and everything was orderly and timely and ran very smoothly.
11.- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling? Emails, chat online, calls, volunteer guide:
Everything was SOO prompt. It was amazing!! Lori was always online to help with any questions that I had along the way. Additionally, Sarah provided lots of great information specific to my travels prior to me arriving.
I also found the volunteer guide very helpful. I felt like I had a good idea of what to expect and what to pack to be prepared.
12.- What do you think about the reservation system online?
It was very efficient and easy to use.
13.- Who did you find Abroaderview website?
I found the website from a google search. I was specifically looking for a program in South America where I could volunteer, live with a host family, and take Spanish classes.
14.- Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Yes of course! In fact I would really enjoy talking to someone if they had any questions.