Maggie Glastonbury - 2014 Program Participant

Volunteer in Peru with local sewing group

End of term Dec 2013, working on a sewing project together.

Why did you choose to volunteer abroad in Peru?

I have always enjoyed traveling and decided I wanted to do something different with my time which involved helping in some way and seeing more of the world.

I traveled to Peru to do the Inca Trail in 2007 and was smitten by the beauty of the country and fascinated by the people, culture, and history. I wanted to learn more so I returned later that year and worked in an orphanage in Cusco. I had a very positive experience and sought to do more.

What made you choose Kiya Survivors over other volunteer organizations?

I found Kiya through Google and was very interested in their work, but thought I didn’t have appropriate experience and wasn’t confident that I could be useful or that I wanted to be in Urubamba. I had worked in the orphanage in Cusco, and then happened by chance to work with disabled young children in Bolivia for a few months. I came back to UK, rang the Kiya office and immediately decided I could do it. I have learned so much from the staff and other volunteers, and I have now returned about six times. I love Urubamba!

Volunteer in Peru teaching sewing

Teaching sewing at the Rainbow Centre.

How has your experience volunteering abroad impacted your life?

Hugely! I have learned to speak Spanish and I have visited most of Peru as well as short trips to other South American countries. I now spend several months each year in Peru. Members of my family and friends have visited.

What were your housing arrangements like while you were volunteering in Peru?

There is a volunteer house which is comfortable and close to the amenities of Urubamba. It provides is a source of companionship when there are other volunteers. The volunteer house has hot showers and a well-equipped kitchen so you can buy fresh food from the market to cook at home, or there are good places to eat out as well.

What was a normal day like as a volunteer in Peru?

There is not a "normal day", they are all full of surprises. The school day tends to start with "brain gym" to get everyone into the mood for classes. There are individual sessions and group work for teaching and the children eat together, but quite often there are festivals, anniversaries, events, etc. which everyone is involved in.

Volunteer in Peru with School Children

Maggie on a school trip.

What type of people make great volunteers?

Volunteers need to be flexible, resourceful, and responsive to change

What was the most memorable experience you had while volunteering abroad in Peru?

The smiles and laughter of the children in response to new stimulus: love, care, and fun.

What important tips can you give to future participants of the program?

Go with an open mind, be prepared to be flexible, give yourself some travel time as well as volunteer time. I believe everyone has something to offer and a huge amount to gain from getting involved.