Peru: A place to give and receive..

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To friends from all over, greetings from… Peru!

I’m here now for more than 6 months, as a volunteer in Proyecto Amigo, and I still have about the same to go. Basically, right now I’m in the middle of my EVS. I was searching for an EVS project for about 6 months before I finally found this one. I really wanted to do my EVS in Latin America, but I never thought that I would actually achieve this. After 2 interviews I finally got accepted in June last year and I knew that I was going to leave Romania on the 2nd of November of the same year. This gave me enough time to prepare for my year in Peru. I was really determined and excited to come here for my EVS, that during this time I had no doubts about my decision. I knew this was what I wanted to do. And now after 6 months, I can say that it was the best decision for me.

I arrived in Huamachuco after 20 hours of flight and 15 hours in bus. Many told me that I will have altitude sickness when arriving here (as Huamachuco is situated at 3170m), but I didn’t have any such problems. I remember the first day when I arrived here, I was afraid to cross the street because of the moto taxis that basically have no rules. Traffic in Peru is something you really have to get used to. Something that really impressed me the first day when I arrived here is that most women in Huamachuco still wear the traditional clothes, including their daughters as young as 2 years old, are dressed in the same way. I tried it once.. dressing up like them; it took me more than 1 hour to make everything, and I can tell you it’s not comfortable!  This made me really respect these women that try so hard to keep to their traditions, aside from all the work they do.

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A lot of the things here require getting used to. But once you do, everything becomes easy and you will understand that life is very simple in the mountains of Peru. Huamachuco actually has very beautiful nature; the mountains really take your breath away and the peacefulness gives you space for thinking. There are also several archaeological sites close to Huamachuco that can be visited and also many touristic places.

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My work in Proyecto Amigo started the same week that I got here. I joined the schedule of the other “tíos” (in Proyecto Amigo we all call each other tío or tía, which means aunt/uncle; it’s the way Proyecto Amigo makes us feel like we are part of a big family), which meant joining the Escuelitas Comunitarias. In Proyecto Amigo we mostly work with children, through what are called Escuelitas Comunitarias, which basically means that every day we go to the different neighborhoods where children live in precarious conditions, and we give math, communication and English classes. I believe that the Proyecto really makes a difference for these children. Through us they receive the personal support that sometimes it’s difficult to receive in a class of 30 pupils. Aside from the homework and the exercises that we do with them, we also play games, sport activities, dynamics, street cinema, etc. Through all this we also try to get to know them, so that we can know in what exactly they need our support and how we can help them. Sometimes it’s not so much about the classes but more about the psychological support the Proyecto gives them. Moreover, it’s not just the kids that get support; we as volunteers also receive support from them. They are always so tender with us that it’s basically impossible not to care for them. This is what makes Proyecto Amigo for me the best for doing my EVS.

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One year to live in a different country, which is so different than yours, is quite a challenge. But I have to say so far it’s been a great challenge! Aside from the fact that I feel that I’m really useful and making a change for the kids that I work with here, I really feel I have developed a lot as a person. I know more about myself now, about what I want to in the future, what I am good at, but also about living independently and getting used to different living conditions. I’m really looking forward to the next months of my EVS and I hope that they will be interesting just the same.

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