Want to know what it might be like to volunteer abroad?
Omprakash volunteers have been posting stories, photos and even videos from their time abroad since 2007. We now have an extensive collection of personal stories from volunteers who've worked with our partners abroad. You can browse through the most recent stories below or use the category selection tool to narrow your search. Alternatively click on the Stories tab for each organization we work with to see specific accounts from a particular organization. Be careful - you might lose a couple hours of your day in here! Happy reading.
Volunteering at Seeds of Hopeprint story
October 30, 2012
I had a fab time volunteering at Seeds of Hope in July 2012, and have copied my blog post about my experience below. You can view the full post plus photos here: http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/wheressuzy/1/1342726728/tpod.html
So, the last 3 weeks have been action packed. After deciding to head to Peru to volunteer at Seeds of Hope I embarked on the mammoth 45 hour journey over the Peruvian border (with only 3 night-time stops for border control!) to get to Huaraz, Peru.
Huaraz is at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca Mountains, which form part of the Andes and it´s high up at 3,052 metres - meaning it's baking hot during the day and drops to almost freezing at night! I arrived late on the Friday evening and was immediately invited on the weekend camping trip with some of the older children which started at 7am the next day! It was a great way to get stuck in, and we all piled into a mini van and up the ridiculously bumpy mountain roads to our base for the weekend - a stone hut with no electricity, running water or toilets of any kind! We had a great weekend together of hiking, playing volleyball, toasting marshmallows on the bonfire and cramming 3 volunteers plus 4 teenage girls into a 3 man tent for the night. It gets super freezing up there, but it was a rare treat for the kids to have a weekend of pure fun so it was worth it!!
Back in Huaraz it was soon Monday morning and time for me to start actually volunteering. The town of Huaraz is relatively sleepy and a mixture of modern and traditional culture. There is a wealth of delicious street food and artesian alpaca products for sale, made by the local women who wear traditional clothing of bowler-type hats and colourful, embroidered skirts. The local market was a real eye opener too, with the traditional dish of guinea pig ('cuy' in Spanish) for sale, both alive and freshly gutted! Plus all manner of fresh produce and hand made goodies on offer.
So, volunteering. I had a wonderful two weeks with the children of Seeds of Hope. A typical day sees the older children in the morning from 9-12 and in the afternoon the younger ones from 3-6, as this fits in with the limited schooling that they receive.They do their school work at Seeds, get guidance and support and are given a simple meal of quinoa or porridge etc. They are also encouraged to wash their hands and brush their teeth every day at Seeds (most of them don't have toothbrushes at home). I soon got to know these wonderful kids and managed to converse with them using my limited Spanish! I was delighted to be able to help them with their school work, from teaching the alphabet (which I had to learn in Spanish first myself!) to complicated algebra. We did homework together, played the Spanish version of 'it' and rounders in the backyard and generally had lots of fun!
We also sampled the traditional set menu restaurants where you´re served a traditional 3 course lunch for 8 soles (£2!). I had my first ceviche, which is a seafood dish of fish marinated in lime juice - it was delicious! We had a charity rock concert while we were there too where Yuri, the founder of Seeds of Hope, and his band played in a local bar, followed by lots of salsa dancing til 3am! We were also lucky enough to experience Peru´s National Holiday to celebrate their independence, where we saw parades, music and celebrations in the square, plus the most amazing tower of fireworks made by the locals which flew off in every direction (health and safety seems to be absent here!!).
But before I knew it my last day at Seeds of Hope was approaching, and it was time to say goodbye. I got the children some cakes to decorate on my last day (almost the same as my homemade cupcakes!) and I was really touched by all the thanks and the cute cards that the kids got for me! I really did have a wonderful time there and would love to go back..I've been really missing the children since I left!