Sarah Volunteer Abroad in Cusco, Peru

My Favorite Memory:

I have multiple favorite memories, but my number one would have to when Laine and I were in the ball pit on the playground, six kids surrounding us, and as I climbed up the slide to switch places with Laurel, one of the young boys grabbed onto my pants and pulled me back down. All the kids were hysterically laughing, it was quite the moment!

I was surprised that:

I was surprised by how independent some of the children were, especially those in wheelchairs or the 9 and 10 year old girls who struggle with their walkers but manage to move around quite well. I think I was expecting the clinic to have poorer conditions, but in general, everyone was clean, well nourished, and well controlled. I was really surprised by how clean Peru was!

The most difficult thing I experienced was:

The most difficult thing I experienced was the long days. We were up early, 6:30 or so and headed to bed no earlier than midnight. The kids wore us out for the morning and it was hard to focus in Spanish lessons without eating multiple cookies to increase our blood sugar. I didn’t realize how tired I was until we left Cusco and headed to Lima for a few days. But, the tiredness was overcome by the adrenaline and excitation that I had while in Cusco, this trip was exhilarating.

Sarah Volunteer Abroad in Cusco, Peru

My best received lesson:

My best received lesson was about how far and how much love can change you. In a few days, I developed a love for everything Peruvian. I realized how important family is and how grateful I am for what I have. Our host family, Laura, her children, Matilda, our guide to Machu Picchu, Guido, everyone was so happy and so welcoming. I plan on keeping in contact with my host family, hopefully seeing them again when I come back to Peru to hike the Inca trail. In just a few days, so many people made such an impact on my life. The children paint a picture of what life is like for them in Cusco, living with a disability, no family, just the nurses, staff, volunteers, and other children who fill their roles as family, taking care, talking, disciplining , and feeding these wonderful children. All they were looking for was love and attention, volunteering at the clinic became a very rewarding experience in such a short time.

Tip for future volunteers:

We brought clothing donations and a few toys for the children, like crayons and coloring books, easy to buy and pack and keep them entertained, especially when they can’t go outside. Definitely leave all expectations back in your homeland. Our trip started out crazy, delayed flight, missed connections, but once we got to Cusco, everything bad that happened was forgotten. If your Spanish is weak, just keep talking, someone will correct you and you’ll pick the language back up pretty quickly. Definitely do Machu Picchu, and take Guido with you as a guide, he’s quite wonderful. My biggest tip is to stay longer than 2 weeks, time flew by and I wish I had more time to volunteer and explore the country.

Personal Paragraph (Testimonial)

My two weeks in the country of Peru (one week volunteering) was by far the most rewarding experience I’ve had in a long time. The beauty of the country and its people drew me in instantly and continue to enlighten me as I share my experiences with others back at home. The children make you laugh, smile, and ponder how they ended up at the clinic and where life will take them next. Learning more about the history, culture, and the Spanish language made my experience in Peru very well rounded and rewarding. I will never forgot the memories and lessons learned and the love I have for all the amazing people I met along my travels.

Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?

Definitely!

Sarah Volunteer Abroad in Cusco, Peru

Sarah Volunteer Abroad in Cusco, Peru

Volunteer Name: Sarah Dobrowolski
Project Location: Cusco, Peru
Program Dates: January 03-10, 2010
Volunteered At: Clinica de Dios

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