Last year I spent an amazing 3 months in Cusco, Peru with Love Volunteers and their local team. This was to be my first experience as a volunteer. I was home stayed in La Floridad within walking... Judith Belwood
Health and Safety
I loved it all!
Submitted by Judith Belwood - | April 29, 2016
Last year I spent an amazing 3 months in Cusco, Peru with Love Volunteers and their local team. This was to be my first experience as a volunteer. I was home stayed in La Floridad within walking distance of Cusco. A couple of other young people were also there and I was interested to hear about their experiences. I was gratified to hear they were enjoying their time.
The first 2 weeks I attended Spanish lessons so that I might be able to volunteer in an orphanage with at least some Spanish. It took about 45 minutes to walk to the Spanish school which helped with acclimatizing to the altitude. The teachers and staff at the school were wonderful and I did manage to learn some Spanish although I was one who understood a lot but was a bit restricted in speaking.
During that second week Carlos, the local team manager, walked me to San Juan II orphanage to introduce me to the director and familiarize myself. Children lived in different houses with a ‘mother’ looking after them.
I took the first week and a half to observe the children who ranged in age from 18 months to 14. There are a couple of older boys I had not met as yet. I played memory games and did origami with them. I spent one session in the activity room with a group of young boys and it had worked really well. I discussed with Carlos the possibility of speaking with the Director of the Orphanage about setting up a program of activities for me and the children. As it turned out an ex-teacher also had just come to stay in my house, and joined me at the orphanage as a volunteer.
An interest in Reading was identified as very important to encourage with the children, so we set up the library. A program was now set in place where children from 4 different houses, 1 house each day, spent an hour in the library, an hour in the activity room and then an hour in the playroom each morning. The reading went so well with the little boys. Three of us worked together and usually read to an individual boy. For them to get one-on-one help and attention was fabulous. Puzzles were popular too. And playtime.
It was not all work. Every weekend I travelled to as many places and had as many experiences as Peru could offer me. These included trekking which was a definite challenge to my acclimatizing to the altitude, at least to begin with. I of course went to Machu Pichu and Lake Titicaca. Colca Canyon was fabulous. The landscape of Peru was the hero for me. The Inca sites were all incredible to see. I gained such respect for the history of this amazing land.
Carlos and his friends taught me to salsa. We had weekly volunteer dinners somewhere in Cusco - meeting in the Square. I loved it all!
I met fantastic volunteers and am still in contact with many of them. I really recommend anyone to have a go at being a volunteer - it is such an enriching experience - at any age. The LV local team were wonderfully supportive and I felt I had made lasting connections with them.
I am a better person, a more content individual and Estoy muy muy agradecido (I am very grateful!).” ~
Love Volunteers responded to this review May 02, 2016 at 6:35 PM
What an amazing picture you paint for us of your time volunteering in Cusco!
Thanks for making a lasting impact on the program by setting up the library and starting formal lesson times. Many of the local children will now learn to read and speak English because of the time and effort you gave - thank-you.
We loved reading about the excursions you took to explore this amazing country and how you immersed yourself in the culture.
Thanks again for sharing this experience to help other volunteers. We wish you all the very best for the future and would love to have you join us again one day.
The Team @ Love Volunteers