Review Volunteer Wendy Tyler in Peru Cusco at the Seniors Care Center and Health Care Center
1. How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country?
Maria Elena was very helpful and supportive during my stay in Cusco. She found placements where I felt welcomed, both in the Clinic and in the old folks home. She consistently asked me how my work and overall experience was going to assure that the placements worked well for me.
2. What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Program: A lot of the work that I did in the clinic involved assisting with insurance forms! I really liked it because it helped me improve my Spanish.
Host Family: Maria Elena’s home is in a very busy area next to the university, and it is really easy to walk/ take the bus/ take a taxi! Safe location.
3. What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Program: I didn’t have any problems with ABV, but within the clinic itself I wished that we could offer more to some of the patients, especially those without insurance, that is a country problem.
Host Family: I really didn’t experience any challenges with my host family. I felt very welcomed and comfortable staying with Maria Elena.
Country: The sanitation and plumbing in Peru is much different in the U.S. Although it was challenging it really made me appreciate many of the comforts I take for granted at home in the U.S.
4. Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
1. Bring toilet paper/ Kleenex/ Purell for when you need to use the bathroom outside of the house; its usually not provided.
2. If you work in the clinic bring a few blue pens because they only can use blue pens on insurance documents.
3. Bring clothing for the rain, especially if you plan on doing hikes like Machu Picchu or Rainbow Mountain during the rainy season.
4. Definitely bring medical donations if you can, especially if you are working at the elder care facility. They really appreciate the help. I brought syringes, gloves, IV flushes, alcohol wipes, stethoscopes, pens, gauze, etc. and they were very thankful for it. The more things you can bring with you, the more space you will have in your luggage for gifts and souvenirs ;)
5.1. Other things volunteers should know before coming here:
a. Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables (on the street) when you don’t know how they have been cleaned, even in nice restaurants!
b. Lunches are typically the main meal here. There is always something provided for breakfast and dinner, but it is usually a lot lighter. I kept snacks in my room for when I wanted something specific, you also can pick food from the fridge if you are hungry.
c. I would recommend to wait to book excursions/ weekend trips until you get here. Maria Elena can take you to a local travel agency that is fairly priced and excellent service. I used the one she recommended for my trips to Lake Titicaca, Machu Picchu, and Rainbow Mountain and they were all great and less expensive than the tours that I saw online.
d. You will have the best experience in this program if you keep an open mind and take advantage of every opportunity you have. For example, don’t expect every day to be the same. Some days at the clinic/old folks home are slow and there are less medically related things to do. However, there is always something else you can help with, or someone you can talk to improve your Spanish.
6- Personal Paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial):
I have really enjoyed my time in Cusco with ABV. I feel that my Spanish has improved a lot and that I have gained a greater appreciation for the medical services and general sanitation we have access to in the U.S. Cusco is such a beautiful place, and I had such a great time on my weekend excursions outside of Cusco as well. I felt very comfortable in Maria Elena’s home and in Peru in general. Maria Elena was so welcoming and caring during my stay. The volunteers who I worked and lived with were also all very friendly and easy to get along. I would definitely recommend ABV!
7. How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
I really enjoyed my stay with Maria Elena. Her house is next to the University in a busy but safe neighborhood. I was surprised at how comfortable I felt living and exploring Cusco.
Maria Elena was extremely accommodating and welcoming. For example, I knew going into this program that it might be difficult for me to eat because I am vegan and Peruvian meals typically include meat. I was worried that I would burden my host family with having to cook extra things for me. Maria Elena was very accepting and immediately together we brainstormed things that we could eat during my stay. During my 3 weeks here she made me many delicious vegan lunches for me with tofu, which were tastier than what I eat at home!
8. What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
Host Family: My favorite memory with Maria Elena was when we went to Museo del Pisco with all of the ABV volunteers. We all had a great time drinking and dancing! It was muy divertido.
Country: My favorite memory of Peru was my trip to Machu Picchu. I went on a two-day trip with 3 of the other ABV volunteers and we had such a great time in both Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu the next day. The trip was so beautiful.
9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
I didn’t really contact the ABV USA support much prior to traveling, but when I did I always got a very quick reply from Sarah, Lory, Lynn which was much appreciated!
9.1- What do you think about the reservation system online?
Generally easy to use and I didn’t have any problems in my reservation.
9.2- Who did you find Abroaderview website
I just researched programs for Nurses to volunteer abroad and ABV came up. I compared ABV with a few other programs but ABV’s prices seemed much fairer and better feedbacks.
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?