Volunteer work in Peru: an amazing experience
Ingrid van Lamoen
Buenos días mamita! Cómo estás señorita linda?
That´s what I hear every morning when I enter the ‘comedor’ at the home for elderly people in Cusco, Peru, where I’m doing volunteer work.
The ‘ancianos’ are just finishing up their breakfast as I start my volunteer job, so the first thing I do every day is cleaning the tables and sweeping the floor. After this, I join the señora who is in charge of the women´s department, for various chores. For example one day we supplied footbaths for the ladies that were interested. So I distribute hot water bowls, help taking off their socks and shoes and put them on again. Another day we mop the floors inside or outside, or we shower some of them. I help to hand the towels and to help some of the ladies to get dressed. At the end of the morning it is already time for lunch; we serve the lunch and clean up afterwards.
All the people here – I mean the staff and all the people – , are incredibly nice, although I can´t understand everything they say to me because of my intermediate level of Spanish. On top of that, some of the people speak Quechua to me instead of Spanish, and the ones without teeth are very hard to understand. But they smile every time they see me and thank me every time I clear their plates
This volunteering job in Cusco involves a lot of cleaning, so be prepared to get some work done. But I’m enjoying it so much! And don’t forget it’s still at a home for elderly people, so the place is pretty tranquilo.
I´ve been taken in by the staff extremely friendly from day one and I never had a dull moment, I never wondered “what to do now”. Although some of the work might not seem very efficient for us, western people….everything I helped out with seemed useful to them and that´s what you should do it for!
If you think about traveling to Latin America or to Peru to do volunteer work, I truly recommend it.