Ashley Volunteer Abroad in Cusco, Peru
My Favorite Memory: I have so many favorite memories… here are a few:

My first encounter with my host mom and program coordinator (Maria Elena) at the airport; exploring Cusco on many occasions with my Spanish professor (Walter); traveling to Machupicchu and Puno with Colleen (my fellow ABV volunteer); playing with all of the children at the hospital; learning how to remove sutures and administer immunizations from Yovanna (the head nurse at San Juan); preparing a special dinner for Maria Elena and Tia Audi with Colleen at the house!

I was surprised
that….
From the beginning, everyone in Cusco treated me as if I was their own daughter, sister, best friend… the people of Cusco are so accepting, warm, inviting and patient. Many times, while learning and trying to speak Spanish, I could not find the correct words to express myself. However, I was ALWAYS treated with respect and compassion. I hope to take this wonderful example I have seen in Cusco back home with me.

The most difficult thing I experienced was….
Interacting with the children at the hospital for the first time. It was very challenging for me and I had to fight not to focus on my own feelings and insecurities and instead focus on the children and meeting their needs.

My best received
lesson…
My values, experiences, feelings, thoughts and ideas are MY OWN. My interactions with my new friends and family while in Cusco have been powerful reminders that this world is so much bigger than me. I pray that I will always hold on to who I am and what I believe while remaining open minded to others lives and what they bring to the table. I am so grateful for all of the incredible people I have been able to share time with during this trip!

Ashley Volunteer Abroad in Cusco, Peru

Tip for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc)
I thought that the advice provided in the volunteer guide was excellent!!! I would add that everyone should try to travel to Puno in addition to Machu Picchu while in Cusco. Come with NO EXPECTATIONS – you will be blown away by all of the incredible gifts Cusco has to offer.

Personal Paragraph (Testimonial):
My volunteer experience in Cusco has been one of the most life changing experiences of my life. The people, nature, historic landmarks and food of Cusco are incredible! I loved interacting with so many families in the clinic. My Spanish professor, Walter, has become one of my great friends – it was so hard to say goodbye to him. My host mom and program coordinator, Maria Elena, is such an incredible woman. From day one she treated Colleen and me as her very own daughters. She prepared incredible meals for us, spent quality time with us, helped us plan incredible weekend trips and took the very best care of us. I will miss her so very much. I have learned so much about myself and about the country of Peru and hope to return after finishing medical school so that I can continue to serve and learn from the incredible people of Cusco. I am going to try to do an “away rotation” in Cusco during my fourth year of school, if possible.

How would you rate your experience working with the ABV staff, both in the USA, and in-country? 100%!!!

How would you describe your accommodation (ie: host family, on-site, shared housing etc) 100%!!!

Are you willing to speak to other potential ABVvolunteers?
Of course; it would be my pleasure!

Ashley Volunteer Abroad in Cusco, Peru

Ashley Volunteer Abroad in Cusco, Peru

Volunteer Name: Ashley N. Suah
Project Location: Cusco
Program Dates: May 9th - May 27th, 2011
Volunteered At: Medical clinic

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