Peru

Original Volunteers

I have just recently arrived back after volunteering in Cusco, Peru for 10 weeks! I can honestly say that it was the most amazing experience ever! I have learned so much from doing this volunteering program and I can't thank Original Volunteers enough! I have always wanted to volunteer abroad but was a little bit hesitant as I am only 18 and I was really nervous about going all the way to Peru on my own. Original volunteers were so kind and friendly from the minute I contacted them to enquire more about the project. They immediately made me feel at ease and reassured me that many volunteers travel out on their own but are never really on their own once they get there as there are so many other volunteers to make friends with. I knew then that I really liked the sound of the whole project and that I liked how friendly Original Volunteers were so I just decided to go for it and book everything! On the lead up to going, I was again really nervous about the whole trip because it was a big thing - going abroad for the first time and going alone at the age of 18. But Original Volunteers were so helpful! I felt like I was being a nuisance e-mailing them all the time with my questions but they were always more than happy to reply with informative answers to my questions. I felt so supported and felt like any worry or question I had about the trip, I could just e-mail Original Volunteers and they would reply with a helpful answer either the same day or the following day. They were so great. When I arrived in Cusco, no one was there to pick me up. I did panic a little as I had just landed in a different continent and no one was there to pick me up so it was a little bit scary. However, Original Volunteers had provided me with so much information before I left that I knew what to do. They had given me the Project Coordinator's number and so I just phoned that and the coordinator very politely apologised that he was running late and said that he would be there to pick me up as soon as possible. So it really wasn't that much of an issue - I just had to wait a little longer, but it was good to know that someone was coming to pick me up. When the co-ordinator arrived at the airport to pick me up, he was very kind and talkative. He instantly made me feel relaxed and welcome because he was so cheery and talkative. When we got to the girls orphanage, Jeremy (the coordinator) showed me to my room and introduced me to the children. For the first couple of days, I felt like I didn't know what I was doing as the routine of the orphanage wasn't explained to me and Jeremy wasn't always around. Therefore I felt like I had no one to really ask for help if I needed it. As Jeremy wasn't really around the only way to contact him was by text which he didn't always reply to quickly. It was easier for some of the other volunteers who spoke Spanish as they could ask the Mamita (the woman who looks after the children and cooks for them) any questions that they had about the orphanage and the routine. So all I am saying is that it would be useful to know some Spanish as it is very difficult to communicate when you know zero Spanish like me. However, I don't think this is Original Volunteers fault - they provided me with so much support leading up to the trip but when I got there, I just felt like the co-ordinator could have been around a lot more. And yes, having some Spanish phrases will make everything easier but I still had the most amazing experience ever and I didn't know any Spanish whatsoever. It was strange not being able to communicate with the children at first but I picked up some words and phrases as time went on and the children were really interested in learning English too! But really the children are so appreciative of even just your presence. They were always so excited to see me each day and it just really made me feel good. They are the happiest, most well-mannered and well-behaved children that I have ever met. They always had a smile on their face, were always giving me hugs and always thanked me when I treated them to an ice cream or when I took them to the park. Some other volunteers and I also took them ice-skating and to the chocolate museum which they absolutely loved. It just feels amazing to know that you are bringing joy to these children's lives by just being there and by showing them love and care. I also brought a massive suitcase full of toys and arts and crafts and toiletries for them. The kids loved that I brought something differnet for them to do each day. I brought paint, pens, pencils, colouring books, stamps, crayons, loom bands, origami, play dough, plasticine , knitting, card games, puzzles etc. The children are very content and grateful and so they were very happy when I and the other volunteers took them to the park for a couple of hours a day but they really enjoyed doing the various different activities that I brought for them as it was something different for them to do and for some of the children it was their first time doing some of those activities. I bonded with the childrne so quickly and grew to love the them. It was honestly the best couple months of my life as I had so much fun with the children and everyday they made me smile and laugh and I did the same for them which made me feel like I was doing good. The children come from a completely different world and have so little yet they are so happy. The whole experience was a complete learning curve for me as you really learn what's important in life. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our modern life's that we forget how grateful we are compared to these children who have very little money, toys, clothes etc. It's just made me realise how lucky I am and how much I want to continue helping those who are less fortunate. It also just shows that you don't need lots of money to be happy. The children were so happy because they were receiving so much love, care and affection from the volunteers and their Mamita and the rest of the team. It was so hard having to say goodbye to the children as I grew so close to them and felt like I had really bonded with them. I also just wanted to say that Original Volunteers were right when they said that most volunteers go alone and that you will never actually be alone when you get there. The day I arrived at the orphanage I met other volunteers who were all so lovely and made my experience even better. I went to Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain with some Volunteers that I made friends with. I am still in touch with the other volunteers that I met and hope to remain friends with them. The only negative thing that I have to say about my experience, but again I think it is more down to the Co-ordinator rather than Original Volunteers, is that there were some people staying in the same accommodation as me which was at the girls orphanage. They weren't volunteering through Original Volunteers and to me I don't know why they were even there. They didn't spend any time with the children and were so noisy. Late at night and during the early hours of the morning they were partying, drinking and blasting music when there are signs all throughout the accommodation saying that no alcohol is allowed in the accommodation and that you should be respectful and not make any noise when others are trying to sleep. I felt sorry for the children that probably could have heard them when they were trying to get to sleep. But anyway, I would like to give a massive thank you to Original Volunteers for giving me the best expierence that I could ever ask for! Thank you so much for all of the support that you gave me and for enabling me to take part in such a life-changing experience!

I put together a video of my volunteering trip to Peru which you can watch by clicking the link. Hopefully it will encourage some of you guys who are thinking of doing a volunteering project to just go for it and do it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOM8l4kok6o

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Apr 19, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I volunteered with IVHQ in May of 2016 in Cusco, Peru for 2 weeks. I volunteered caring for homeless dogs. Overall the experience was a good one and I am very glad I went. However, I am 53 years old and their website and communications made it sound like there would be volunteers of all ages. There were not. Everyone was college age except for me. I also thought I would be staying in a place with a group of other volunteers and getting to know the host family. Even though the house was huge there were only 2 other volunteers and their schedules were very different from mine. The mother/wife and 2 children were never home, it was always only the father. He was very nice and helpful but not the experience I was expecting. I also thought I would be volunteering with a group at the rescue shelter. I was the only volunteer. Again the 2 people than ran the shelter were very nice but it was not the experience I was expecting. I was alone most of the time.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Mar 19, 2017
Overall:
4
Support:
4
Value:
4

Discover Corps

I went over Christmas time and had a wonderful. My first night there I was the only one that had arrived. My host and his family showed me around Cusco to the different plazas and churches that had Nativity scenes and lights. The next day I had asked about wanting to see how the people there shopped, so I had the opportunity to go with the host's brother and wife as they shopped for the food to take to the homebase. There ended up being only two of us on this trip, which I think was good. Our host was very accommodating to our needs and since I was having trouble with the altitude I think we took things at a much slower pace. Because of circumstances there were times our schedule was rearranged, which our host was very patient todo. We had a chance to attend the baptism of some of the girls he works with, followed by being invited to their home for a meal. Which was a pleasant experience. He had children come to the homebase to meet and work with us. There were times that the children came with us as we visited various locations. I was very impressed by the friendliness of the staff and their families. I do plan to go back and visit the families that I have met.
I do recommend this trip to anyone who is interested in seeing a place in Peru and do some volunteering on their vacations.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Feb 11, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Global Crossroad

Program:
Location: Peru
Posted: Jan 30, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

Comments

Aside from the volunteer project, Cuzco is one of the most fun places I have ever been, whether you are in the city or travelling a few hours out of the city to visit places like Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, the Amazon, or Rainbow Mountain. Your house family will help you organize any trips or excursions that you wish to do.

Projects Abroad

I travelled with Projects Abroad for two weeks in August this year, in the Medical Volunteer trip. I would recommend anyone interested in exploring the field of medicine to embark on this trip. Not only do you get a feel for the medical community itself but Projects Abroad allows you to experience the Peruvian culture in a variety of ways. By allowing the volunteers to live with welcoming local Peruvians it helps to open your eyes to a completely new way of life. The planned activities on top of the work in the hospitals also allows the volunteers to experience more of Peru itself, visiting places such as Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo. The medical placements themselves were great! The doctors of the facilities allowed us to shadow them and talk and examine patients. We rotated so we were shown all the different types of doctors and their responsibilities within the hospital. In the time I spent working I was given plenty of hands on experience in addition to lots of new knowledge and medicine itself.

Overal I would rate every aspect of this trip very highly, the Projects Abroad staff made it not only an enjoyable experience but made it a life changing one. They helped build a community within our small group of volunteers and I made friends there that I will never forget.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Jan 6, 2017
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
7

Projects Abroad

I travelled with Projects Abroad for two weeks in August this year, in the Medical Volunteer trip. I would recommend anyone interested in exploring the field of medicine to embark on this trip. Not only do you get a feel for the medical community itself but Projects Abroad allows you to experience the Peruvian culture in a variety of ways. By allowing the volunteers to live with welcoming local Peruvians it helps to open your eyes to a completely new way of life. The planned activities on top of the work in the hospitals also allows the volunteers to experience more of Peru itself, visiting places such as Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo. The medical placements themselves were great! The doctors of the facilities allowed us to shadow them and talk and examine patients. We rotated so we were shown all the different types of doctors and their responsibilities within the hospital. In the time I spent working I was given plenty of hands on experience in addition to lots of new knowledge and medicine itself.

Overal I would rate every aspect of this trip very highly, the Projects Abroad staff made it not only an enjoyable experience but made it a life changing one. They helped build a community within our small group of volunteers and I made friends there that I will never forget.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Jan 6, 2017
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
7

RCDP Nepal

Program:
Location: Peru
Posted: Dec 5, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

RCDP International Volunteer Abroad

I worked as a volunteer at a teenmoms project in Cusco for two weeks. It was a really good experience and the babies we had to care too were so cute. Everything was well organized by our coordinators Wildon and Alyssa and they were always a good help in every question we had. Also our hostfamily was so nice: Maria our hostmom, and Roger her son. The meals were always really good and they helped us in everything they could.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Nov 9, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Kaya Responsible Travel

Kaya provided an amazing support for a volonteering experience! The projects proposed by Kaya are all local initiatives, where Kaya helps to provide volonteers, while providing great support to volonteers upfront for preparing the travel and on site for all questions.
I spent 3 weeks in Cusco, Peru, helping a the "young mothers" project:
https://www.kayavolunteer.com/project/volunteer-support-young-mothers-peru/

This project provides shelter to young women, actually still teenagers or even almost children (13 to 20 years old), who got a child and have lost contact with their families. At the "Hogar", they get a place to live, learn how to take care of their children, go to school and learn a profession, until they are ready to be independent. As volonteers, all initiatives are welcome. A lot of time is spent in taking care of the children, who are adorable(at the time I was there, they were 11 months to 2 years), in helping in daily duties like cooking and washing, but also any ideas for activities with the young mothers are welcome: teaching english, music, drawing, cooking...

The young mothers are lovely, very curious to learn about the volonteers and as volonteer you feel bound to them very quickly. Speaking spanish is not compulsory, as taking care of the children does not required to speak spanish. But it is very rewarding to speak at least a bit of spanish to increase the contact to the young mothers. After 2 weeks in Peru, I finally could speak a little bit and it was so rewarding!

Taking spanish lessons is possible. Both the project and the spanish lessons are in the center of Cusco which is a very beautiful city with a lot of things to see and to do.

Overall, an amazing experience!

Program:
Location: Peru
Posted: Oct 24, 2016
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
8

Global Crossroad

Volunteering abroad is a great experience! I am a minor who went to Peru to work at a project helping teen moms. I stayed at a host family with 5 other volunteers. They gave us three meals a day which was lovely. We had a good balance between independence and support. There was a hard situation with one of our roommates (who also wrote a review) that ended very badly. Our volunteer coordinator gave us a lot of support and it seemed everyone worked hard to fix the situation. However there was a threat of violence against us so our roommate was offered another place (host family) to stay which we all hoped would diffuse the situation. She refused that option and things escalated from there. After the point of threatening, she was given two options: move host families or leave the program. She chose to leave the program. She was given a refund for the part of the time she did not get to enjoy. I feel that Global Crossroads handled a hard situation very well. A lot of the information that is given is a not what I experienced. I had a wonderful time volunteering with Global Crossroad.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Jul 12, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9

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