Kristina Ericsson’s volunteer experience in Cusco, Peru, was “a wonderful eye-opening experience,” where she engaged in activities like volunteering at a kindergarten and medical/dental clinic, and taking Spanish lessons. Challenges included cold nights due to no central heating and communication barriers.
Tips for future volunteers include bringing warm clothing and cash. Kristina praised the local coordinator’s support and the friendliness of the host family. Her favorite memories include having lunch with her host family, volunteering at the hospital, and exploring Cusco.
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country? Absolutely amazing. Way above expectation. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Program: It was so well planned out. Everyone pitched in and helped where needed. There was so much food!
Host Family: Wonderful, caring, clean house, bedroom, bathroom, great food.
Country: I didn’t get sick! How friendly the people were.
3- What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Program: Some people can be difficult to work with.
Host Family:They gave so much food!
Country: waiting for waiters to take orders and bring food.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
- bring vitamins and more vitamins.
- don’t bring too much clothing, especially sweaters that take up space. You’re going to buy way more than you ever thought.
- make a list of what is needed, and then have volunteer sign up for it.
- more vitamins. Ibuprofen and Tylenol went quickly as well.
5- Other things volunteers should know before coming here:
a. Need to be self sufficient. Only bring what you can carry yourself.
b. Try speaking spanish. They all appreciate it. Even if you don’t know much.
c. You’re in someone else’s house and someone else’s country, live by their standards, and don’t make them cater to your needs. They have provided more than necessary.
6- Personal Paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial):
This was my first medical mission. I had no expectations. I kind of thought we would be sleeping on dirt floors or something. The housing and the families were more than gracious. So caring and wonderful. Clean bedrooms, bathrooms, but don’t expect hot water for showers. A little bit of warm water is a blessing. As for the program helping people, all the volunteers got together and just did what needed to be done. We all helped out where needed, and worked hard to see all the patients that came and lined up that morning. We all tried to work through lunch and continue long after closing, but our host made us stop for lunch and get recharged. Everyone who came to volunteer was so kind and loving to everyone it was just wonderful to see everyone working together to help others.
As far as the most emotional moment for me, I think it was at the small village of 178 people who all came, plus more people, and they had nothing, no running water, and they needed so much. Yet, they all got together to make us a lunch with their chickens, potatoes and salads. They gave to us so much, and were so thankful. Bringing toys for the kids to play with was so rewarding to watch. They were so grateful. The entire week was rewarding, but this stood out to me.
7- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
Above expected. Way above expected. Just an FYI, don’t expect hot showers. A lukewarm shower is a blessing. I never felt scared, the place was very safe. Don’t drink the tap water. That was the only rule I lived by. Everyone was friendly. It was really amazing.
8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
Program: The entire thing. I loved the trip to machupichu after a long week of hard work. The people we worked with were the BEST.
Host Family: How caring and loving they were to us. They were so accommodating.
Country: The people. They were so friendly and thankful.