You come, you volunteer, you leave. Then what?
The mission of Volunteers Peru is to assist the groups and individuals we work with here in Peru to achieve their personal and educational goals. This means we initially focus on our projects’ needs: homework help, dentist trip, school events, cleaning, chopping onions, hugs, singing, de-licing. Pretty much anything. The other really cool side of these partnerships, however, is that each volunteer who assists in completing these tasks also leaves having gained something whether it be a new perspective, friends, ideas, experiences and dreams.
Here are a few examples of how past volunteers have been inspired by their time here in Peru. After helping us carry out our mission. We hope you feel inspired, as well, by what they have done and where they are—we know we are.
Jeff came to volunteer in la Casa Hogar in June of 2018. He spent three weeks in the kitchen preparing meals during the week and giving baking workshops on the weekends. Jeff spent every morning and afternoon in the kitchen and built wonderful relationships with the staff and girls. The relationships he built with the kitchen staff have been particularly helpful and conducive for Volunteers Peru, as it has helped us build rapport in the house.
Jeff’s has a background in sales and marketing, and he also worked in the clothing business for eight years. (If you met him on the job you probably wouldn’t know he makes an excellent raspberry tart.) In March of 2018, Jeff wrote to us saying that his “time in Arequipa was a pivotal time” and his experiences in La Casa Hogar cemented his decision to want to become a teacher.
Kat, a Volunteer from Australia, who all up was with us about three months, came to Peru with a specific mission: to build a library. Kat is a Librarian who wanted to develop a library to support literacy and a love of reading. Kat found Casa Hogar and reached out with a project proposal. She fundraised at home, then travelled to Peru and setup a library for the girls. This includes over 200 age-appropriate books, 4 colourful beanbags, and an easy to use system the girls are in love with. She hopes that developing a love of reading will support them in a full education and provide more opportunities for them in the future.
Kat has returned to Australia and is back working in libraries. She says that the experience really broadened her perspective and horizons. She is now much more capable of overcoming challenges, as all the first world problems that commonly come up seem to have simple answers. She has a continued interest in establishing libraries in developing areas, and is already gathering information for another library project. She is considering returning to South America for this as she loved her time on the continent, but she is not ready to lock anything in just yet. Kat says her time at Casa Hogar and working with Volunteers Peru helps her keep life in perspective, and as much as she values what she contributed, she feels the experience gave her so much as well.
Diego, a volunteer from Canada, spent 5 months in Tomepampa (he is our longest serving volunteer in Tomepampa!). Diego studied engineering, but after completing his studies he decided he wanted to consider teaching—something Tomepampa allows volunteers to practice while also allowing them to live in the most beautiful canyon in the world (in our opinion, at least). Diego explains a little more below:
"I will soon begin my studies to become a teacher, but at the time I was not sure if this was the path I wanted. I joined Volunteers Peru to test my teaching skills and to check if I would enjoy this career. In Tomepampa, I got the opportunity to teach my own English classes. The children were keen to learn and it was fun interacting with them. I truly loved the experience and it confirmed my passion for teaching. Furthermore, the experience humbled me and made me appreciate the things that we often take for granted. The people at Volunteers Peru, in Tomepampa, and in Peru in general, were friendly and welcoming. I hope to return soon."
We are so grateful for all of the volunteers we have had over the past years. We are grateful they have volunteered their time to help at our projects, but we are also grateful that we have been able to get to know them and become invested in our lives. To each and every one of you, thank you. We hope your time here has impacted you in a positive way, and we hope you know that you will always have a home in Peru.
If volunteering with us changed your life plans or outlook, send us an email to let us know! We would love to hear from you.