Guilherme Wertheimer - 2014 Program Participant
The health care center where Guilherme worked in Callao, Lima
What attracted you to volunteering abroad?
I wanted to make an learn more about the health system in less privileged places and make a polite impact in a needing community during my university vacation. So I went in the medical placement program in Lima-Peru.
Why did you choose a program in Peru?
Peru is near my country (Brazil) and I’m well aware that it struggles with poverty and a lot of health care problems. I thought that I could help a little working there.
What was your favorite part about volunteering in Peru?
I worked in an orphanage for children with medical disabilities. The experience was very rewarding, I could feel that I was part of something special for the children and I could learn from the local staff.
What was the best part about your program?
The other volunteers play a major role in the program. It was incredible to meet people all over the word that want to help other people and are interested in learning new cultures.
How much support did local staff provide you with?
The support was incredible, from the time that I was picked up in the airport to the very end.
Some of the volunteers in the project on a night out in Miraflores, Lima
Did you encounter any language problems in Peru?
I found it a little difficult in the beginning, specially the medical terminology, but I had some spanish background (studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina in a language program from the University of Buenos Aires) and Portuguese (my native language) is similar to Spanish.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I wish that I had more time, at least a whole month.
What was a typical day like as a volunteer in Peru?
The day would begin early, I would have breakfast with the other volunteers and a responsible from the NGO would take me and fellow volunteer to the place of work by bus. There I would see patients (in the clinic) or help with the general health care of the children in the orphanage. The responsible would come back to accompany us back to the house to have lunch, and than back to the work place for the afternoon. Once during the night we would have dinner and then I would resolve some university business, go running, or doing something with the other volunteers.
A View of Machu Picchu in Peru
What did you enjoy most during your time in Peru outside of your regular program activities?
I managed to travel to Machu-Pichu for a few days with some volunteers, it was amazing.
What is one thing every volunteer should know about Peru?
Peru has amazing food and travel sites. You should be mindful of the traffic there (it’s really chaotic) and that you`re expected to bargain everything from taxi rides to clothes.
Where did you live in Peru?
I lived in a house with at least 15 other volunteers, I shared the room with two more people. The house wasn't big, but was always clean with fresh food in the three meals of the day. It was located relatively close to the workplace and the more touristy part of Lima.
What is a typical meal like in Peru?
We ate a lot of typical foods, I learned that it varies depending the region of the country that you are. In Lima we had a lot of rice, potatoes, chicken, and sometimes pork or ceviche. They use a little bit of spices, and a lot of soups and vegetables.
Now that you are home, do you have plans of volunteering abroad again anytime soon?
I would love to repeat the program in Africa or Asia again if I manage to raise some funds.
How much of an impact has volunteering in Peru had on you?
The experience had a great impact in me, made me want to learn more here to be able to help more when I return.
What surprised you about volunteering abroad most?
Like I said before the fellow volunteers were a nice surprise, and the people from the NGO in Lima too. All of them very interesting and genuine, good people.
Guilherme working at a health campaign in Callao, aimed at providing medical consultation for the people in the region that couldn't reach the medical center.