Overall Rating:/ 10Hi LV team,
I wanted to follow up to provide feedback on my experience volunteering in Cusco, Peru. The whole experience went as smoothly as possible and surpassed my expectations!
My host family was kind and attentive. They made a real effort to include me in family gatherings, and that added a unique cultural component to my experience in Cusco. Omar [the local volunteer coordinator] was organized and motivated. He arranged weekly dinners for the volunteers in the program, which always ensured there was a sense of community between the volunteers working in different programs or with different schedules.
The volunteer placement itself was both challenging and rewarding - just what I'd hoped for! I was able to work with a small group of teenage boys at the orphanage. Most of the volunteer resources tend to get allocated to the houses with younger children, so the older kids were a bit apprehensive to have a stranger around at first. But we quickly became close and it feels rewarding to know that I was able to establish significant, lasting relationships with the boys. We still keep in touch over Facebook now that I'm no longer in Cusco.
Every day at the orphanage was different. There tended not to be a lot of structure, so I felt that it was very important for all the volunteers to take a lot of initiative when it came to structuring time with the kids. Most of my volunteer placement happened to coincide with widespread teacher strikes throughout Peru, and that meant that the children at the orphanage were out of school for weeks at a time. That made it even more important to put a lot of thought and effort into finding ways to spend meaningful time with the kids.
All in all, I had an amazing experience in Cusco. I'm really glad I decided to do it, and I know it was an impactful and meaningful experience!