During the last week of October 2015, AMAUTA Spanish School Peru had the privilege of working in various volunteer projects in Cusco with a group from the United States. These young people are currently in a “gap year” traveling in South-America with Youth International, an “experiential learning program that combines rugged international travel, inter-cultural exchange, home stays with local families, volunteer community service work, and outdoor adventure.” The volunteers arrived in Cusco from Bolivia; following their week of volunteer work, they enjoyed the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu; and their next stop is Ecuador.
The volunteers split up between three different projects in the morning and then came back together as a group in the afternoon, after lunch with their host families in Peru, to work with, a home for abused and abandoned girls. The projects aided in the morning included a home for the elderly, a kindergarten, and a clinic and home for physically and mentally handicapable children.
The volunteers at the kindergarten enjoyed playing with the children, assisting teachers, and helping with homework. The kids at the clinic loved when the volunteers brought bubbles, coloring books, balloons, soft toys, and origami projects. And at the home for elderly Cusqueñas, both residents and volunteers had a lot of fun playing bingo, football (soccer), coloring, and dancing together. At the orphanage where all of the volunteers worked together, they put fresh coats of paint on the buildings in the complex, planted a garden, and played games – “zombies” being the game of choice for most of the girls!
The volunteers described their time is Cusco as “beautiful”, expressed their enthusiasm to work with the others in the group, and good-naturedly mentioned that their friends in the Geriatric center liked to call them “gringos”. Through these experiences and guided by the AMAUTA Volunteer Coordinator, the group got a chance to taste every-day life in Peru with their host families, made positive contributions to the lives of those they met in their projects, and learned a little more every day about the intricacies and rewards of discovering Peruvian culture!
More information about the AMAUTA Volunteer Social Service Program.