Registered nurse Andrea Rigby shares her experiences of volunteering in Cuzco.
Magical and Mystical Peru…..Having already completed a two week placement in Kenya Masaai with Original Volunteers earlier in the year I knew I would embark on another. I’m a Registered Nurse and do volunteering in the UK, and had decided to go abroad and do something to help where I could. This, was to be the start of a labour of love that has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined and something I will continue to do for all of the right reasons.
I spent two weeks doing health checks on the children.
Volunteering can give you more personal satisfaction than you could ever expect.
Volunteering at any of the projects in Cuzco will give you insight into some unique cultures and customs and can be an eye opening and life changing adventure. You will meet some amazing and incredible people and possibly make some friends for life.
The children enjoyed checking each other’s heart rates too!
Health checks and medical supplies donated
For my second trip I chose Peru, a country that has intrigued me since I was a child and since in my nursing career I had been dealing with juveniles in the criminal justice system and street people in the community on a voluntary basis . The placement in Peru was on the outskirts of Cuzco in one of the Peru Orphanages, at the Girls and Boys Cuzco. I spent two weeks at the orphanage doing health checks on the street kids. Some of the kids were shy, some boisterous, but all appeared to enjoy having a check over and getting some supplies I had taken with me. I stocked cupboards with medical supplies and donated blood pressure monitors, thermometers, plasters, dressings, basic pain relief, creams, lotions, and over the counter medications. I also donated first aid kits for the helpers at the orphanage so they could have them on their person whenever they took the kids out. Gifts of toothbrushes and toothpaste, hand wipes and cleansing gel were also items I donated to each individual child. All the boys and girls joined in with me checking heart rates, blood pressures etc and listened to each others hearts…. I won’t ever forget the look of surprise on their faces! I have to say, these kids are the most wonderful, polite, respectful, genuine little people ive ever had the pleasure of being around!
An amazing bond between these kids and the carers Jeremy and Nilda is apparent. Some of these kids do have parents, but their home may not have been safe or ideal, and one thing that was nice to see is that the majority of these kids also have a sibling with them. They all live together, play together, learn and grow together. The kids have very little in material things yet share everything, they work together, they help each other, they respect each other and are a credit to all who have helped them and taught them real values. Assist with homework, teach them another language, let them teach you Spanish, or Spanglish as I spoke more of! Join them in football at the weekends, play games, organise activities, cook for them and let them show you how much they appreciate all you do …by performing plays/stage acts for you, or dances (they are great dancers!!!) they love to entertain you, dress up and sing … DragonballZ in Spanish is now embedded in my brain!
The children also get involved with meal preparation on a daily basis.
The boys love learning and can’t get enough
Whilst I was there , some of the other volunteers, a joiner and electrician did some work on the building and stage area for the kids which enabled them to be able to do more productions and leisure time inside the orphanage. An after school homework group is also run at the boys orphanage so there are plenty of kids around late afternoon to assist with chores and learning. They crave new information and learning a new skill. Along with general cleaning chores the kids and helpers all get involved in the food and meal preparation on a daily basis…making a new dish for them and with them is welcomed!
You could help these children in so many ways… skills of all labours would be appreciated to improve the orphanages.
You can’t go to Peru without seeing Macchu Picchu.
Macchu Pichu is a must for anyone volunteering in Cuzco
Macchu Pichu is a must, the Jungle tours are incredible and Lake Titicaca bordering Bolivia is breathtaking also… Despite all the touring I did and the fantastic experiences I had in Peru after my placement, nothing could ever match up to the little face of a child who listens to their heart beat for the very first time…Priceless!
Feeling on top of the world at Macchu PIcchu!
Go ahead and experience a culture so magical, and spend time with amazing kids who melt you and mesmerise you. Thank You Cuzco, your children and your country will always have a piece of my heart
Want to get involved and follow Andrea’s incredible journey? Click for more information on the Peru volunteer programme.