Volunteer Name: Lauren Somero
Project Location: Cusco Peru
Program Dates: 7-28 to 8-28-15
Volunteered at: Orphanage
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country?
The ABV staff was awesome, they showed up at the airport waiting for me. Very easy to find and the smile on her face was very welcoming! The first day is always the craziest but she made it easier on me!
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Program: In the program I would say that the most surprising experience would be how incredible the girls are. How you can connect with them and they are just over joyed with you being there. Being here has changed my outlook on life and the way that I live my life.
Host Family: I wouldn't say anything really surprised me about my host family. They were truly incredible and welcoming. I felt apart of the family, I felt at home being with Maria Elena! She made sure that I had everything that i needed and helped me with everything!
Country: The most surprising thing I would say is that the amount of salsa lessons and nightclubs they have. Almost anywhere in the plaza they have different night clubs and different types of dancing that you can learn. I didn't expect the city to be so enriched with the dancing like it is.
3- What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Program: I would say personally leaving the girls. Everyday when i would go to the orphanage they would be so happy to see me, smiles on their faces. Their spirits are amazing, the girls i have connected with on this trip have changed my outlook on life. They have impacted me in a positive way and seeing them everyday has made me a happier person. They have so much to give, so i would say leaving the girls is the most challenging thing. It helps a lot if you know Spanish ahead of time so you can communicate with them more. So you can learn about them and they can learn about you.
Host Family: There was nothing really challenging about the host family. They were straight forward with what they expected from you, I didn't have any issues! I would say if anything I wish I knew more Spanish so I could clean with me talk to my host mother but we understand each other 90% of the time!
Country: I didn't have any issues with Cusco. It was beyond beautiful everyday, the people here are nice and if you needed anything there always was someone to ask.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
1. Try to know Spanish (dictionary)
2. Ask where good restaurants are
3. Light rain coat
5.1-Other things volunteers should know before coming here:
a. It will change your life
b. The city is amazing
6- Personal Paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial):
I had it once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in Cuzco Peru for a month working at the orphanage and being here for a month you get very connected to the girls and do a very connected to the city because of how different it is. You realize how beautiful the simpler things in life are, The coordinator made everything really easy for me to acclimate into Peru. I know Spanish from high school but being down here for a month and immersing myself in the culture has really been great for my Spanish. You pick up quickly on the language and for myself learning in a classroom isn't the same.
7- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
When I first got to Peru the friendliness of people was outstanding if you have any questions or if you needed directions they would help you. The meals were really good I am going to miss having a type of food that I have down here in United States. Everything has a different flavor texture to it but it is so mouthwatering! The accommodations were good when I first got here I was rooming with another volunteer, she had help me know the city a little bit more! I would say being in Cusco the area of the house is in a safe location and it is near the center!
8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
Program: my favorite memory of the program is getting to know the girls and getting to know how they live their life. Seeing their faces every day and helping them in English or playing volleyball with them being outside watching them do their ceramics is truly incredible. The skills of the girls have is amazing.
Host Family: sitting around the table talking with other volunteers and my host family at nighttime and having lunch together almost every single day felt really amazing.
Country: waking up surrounded by mountains and how vibrant at nighttime the stars are. I love seeing the historical sites around Cusco in going to Machu Picchu it changes your every day life being here. Being able to walk to the plaza de Armas on a beautiful day is amazing.
9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
The A broader view staff has helped me a lot any questions I had they would answer me within 24 hours. My mom called and they answered any and all of her questions! I had a few precautions before I actually signed with a broader view but after talking to them and talking to other volunteers who have gone I realize that this is the right choice for me. They made answering my questions very easy.
9.1- What do you think about the reservation system online?
I thought the reservation system was good online because you got to see every step of the process and if you needed to change something you would be able to with the help of the chat online or email. I liked seeing it online and being able to access it very conveniently.
9.2- Who did you find Abroaderview website
I was on the computer thinking about how I could help people and then volunteering abroad came into my head I did my research on a few different companies/organizations/nonprofits. I had talk to my mom about it and we both looked into the pros and the cons of each company and then we went with A broader view because we felt it was one of the best!
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Yes I am willing to speak to other volunteers about this experience!