My favorite memory of this trip was seeing the faces of the girls at the orphanage the day we just got to play volleyball with them. It was difficult because they told all of us they did not want us to go but so rewarding knowing we helped them for at least a few days.
The host family I stayed with was great. They really accepted us as apart of their family. Sometimes it was hard to get used to certain meals but it wasn't necessarily bad but just different. I was surprised at the amount of security on site to protect the children and it was great. Living in a city was a different experience if you are not used to it which can be difficult at first but rewarding once you accept it.
I was surprised by how great and helpful the coordinator was in all situations. I really loved the sites we worked at because it was different. The boys and girls I was able to work with taught me things I may never be able to pay back. It was a completely humbling experience and I would not trade it for anything. The experience makes me want to help more and do more for not just this community but my community at home and other locations. Some days were difficult but this program is something I will never forget.
Volunteer Name: Creighton DeYoung Project Location: Cusco, Peru Program Dates: From 03/23/2014 to mm/30/2014 Volunteered at: Pre-medical project
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country? This trip was the first time I had traveled abroad by myself, and I was a little bit nervous about the logistics. However, I was very pleased to find that the ABV Coordinator (Beatriz) was exceptionally accommodating. Despite flight complications, and several other uncontrollable mishaps, my week in Peru was worry free and successful. A large of which can be attributed to the ABV Coordinator.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced? The most surprising thing for me was the standard of the medical facility and staff. I was expecting far worse! It was a clean building with professional staff. While it is nice to know the patients at my clinic are in good hands, I wish I could have played a more integral role in the medical field.
3- What was most difficult to experience? The most difficult thing for me was working with the children in the clinic. I was concerned by the conditions in which they lived. The physical environment was quite nice, however, the children lacked personal social attention. At the end of the day, it was hard for me to tear myself away from the kids.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations) Make Machu at least a two day trip.
4.1-Other things volunteers should know: a.-Don’t carry all your money around with you, even if it is in a money belt. b.-Buy a map of the city and keep it with you. Study it a little bit if you have time. c.-You might be surprised by the amazing conversations you can have with completely random people, if take the time to initiate it. d.-Plan a group dinner with at least some of the other volunteers; it makes living in a foreign country far less lonely.
5- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial): Overall, I absolutely loved my experience in Cusco, Peru. It was definitely the best way I could have spent my one week of spring break. Although I volunteered in a medical setting, I would have liked to been included more in working with patients. That being said, I do feel as though I made a difference in the lives of some – the children. If asked whether or not I would sign up for this trip all over again, I would absolutely say, “Yes.”
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e: host family, on-site, shared)
The accommodations were excellent in my case. I absolutely loved my host family, and it is a shame I have to leave them. The meals were great and I always felt safe. As I said before, my only negative remark is the lack of medical experience I actually gained compared to my expectations. I paid to volunteer, so if I were to participate in this program again, I would do so under the assumption I would be working closely with doctors and I would be given more responsibility.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip? In the clinic, it was definitely attending to the children. I formed some special connections with a few patients that will leave a mark on me forever. Outside of the clinic, Machu Picchu definitely the highlight of my trip. All I can say is that it is one of the most awe-inspiring sights I have ever seen.
8.- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling? It was decent. I could have used more information from the program. For example, instead of emails sent from a machine, I would have liked to receive personal emails from my coordinator, or at least have an email address for more personal and specific communication. Also, I did not know until I got to the clinic what kind of work I would be doing, so more information in that regard would have been nice. ( ABV response: Program Summary was sent 30 days prior to traveling, we also have a direct line and a chat online to talk to us and in the travel guide you had the direct contact information to the coordinator, the "machine emails" are just so you can remember to send all the paper work and get already before the trip)
9 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers Since, I only had time to stay for one week, I do not think I would be able to give the most detailed advice to future volunteers.
The accommodation was good. Location was convenient as it was very close to the kindergarten and the Spanish teacher's house. The meals were healthy and gave us a good representation of Peruvian food. Host family were very very nice. They were very accommodating and shared everything with us without any hesitation. Also, we appreciate their patience with us especially when we are having a hard time understanding Spanish. We're very thankful to Maria and her family for welcoming us in their home. https://www.abroaderview.org
How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA? I dealt with Sarah for organizing the work. Sarah was very professional
Michelle: "From the minute I began to plan this work with my first emails to ABV to my time at the Reserve, I will say that the whole experience was very enjoyable and exciting. I have spoken to those at home about my experience at the Reserve and with ABV and I hope I have generated the interest of others here at home to do what I did. I would love to do this work again. Thanks".
This program completely changes your life. It is incredible to be surrounded by children and adolescents- essentially allowing us to help them to learn new things to help them in the future. The school helps us to see how difficult it is to be a mother or father and the obligation to give a great education to these children so that they can work towards bettering the country as a whole. Also, to spend time with the girls at the orphanage helps us to really understand what it really means to value the great moments and experiences in life. Really it can be said that love, respect and sincerity are things that every person should have and experience; the least important things, on the contrary, are the physicalities of people as well as the items that they possess. At the entrance of the orphanage, the wall reads "una persona vale más que un mundo" and through this, it doesn't matter how many hardships life presents, what truly matters is how a person continues to remain strong and happy.
It was working as a team with the other nurses from Cusco at Hospital Regional when the Emergency Department would get very busy.
I was Surprise:
I was surprise that even thought I was aware that the hospital here would be very different; it was still quite a shock to experience it in person.
The most difficult thing I experienced was…
The most difficult and frustrating thing I experienced was taking care of many critical patients without enough or the right medications, medical supplies & equipment that they really needed.
My best received lesson:
My best-received lesson was adapting to the different hospital setting & learning how to utilize the limited resources by training & prioritizing patient care.
Tip for future Volunteers:
Bring Green Scrubs! Specially seafoam/mint green colors. The nurses here only wear these colored uniforms so it will be confusing if you’re not in the right color. Also bring red & blue pens because the charting is done a certain way with these colors. At the beginning of every shift, introduce yourself to the other nurses so that they know who you are & that you are ready to help wherever they need you. Ask the charge Nurses “when” you should work, because different shifts are busier & need more help than others. For example, I started out working in the mornings, until O asked when they needed the most help & the nurses told main the evenings. Since I was working in the Emergency Department, the number of patients varied from then on, I started to come at 7pm & stayed as long as they needed me each night. There was a significant difference at the time of day & they really did need the extra help then. Some nights it would calm down by 11 or 12 so I would leave then. Other nights there would be so many critical patients & not enough nurses so I would stay & help until the next morning. My best advice is to be willing to absorb & adapt to the different hospital environment. The quicker you learn how they do things there & accept that it’s not as clean & pretty as the hospital you’re used to at home, the quicker you can really jump in there & help.
Essential supplies that you should try your hardest to bring include:
-BP Cuffs(s)-There was only 1 for the whole ED
-Pulse Oximeter – Also only one for the whole ED & several patients needed close SpO2 monitoring so try to bring a small one (US$50) that you can wear around your neck.
-Gloves – As many boxes as possible 3-4
-Hand Sanitizer – enough to last your self the entire time, keep a small one in your pocket at all times.
-Honestly any other supplies.. They need it!!!
How would you rate your experience working with the ABV staff, both in the US and in country?
US staff was great & organized. Very quick to respond & answer questions.
My coordinator in Cusco was wonderful. She really helped get my settle & was very friendly.
How would you describe your accommodation?
Host home: Wonderful. Very nice welcoming family
At the hospital it was a little disorganized, as there was no set nurse for me to report in to each shift. However, that was fine because I was very proactive &made the effort to get to know the different nurses each shift so we were able to communicate & work together better. Building good relationships with the other nurses is definitely key to adapting quicker & therefore, being able to help more.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Absolutely!!. I would actually strongly recommend that any future Cusco nurse volunteers contact me for advice prior to their trip.
It was really a memorable experience for me. I learned a lot during the seven days with the program. I have understood more and experienced the local culture in Peru, as well as picked up some Spanish words. This volunteer experience has really broaden my view of the world. I will definitely recommend the program to anyone. https://www.abroaderview.org
Volunteering abroad can present a myriad of benefits from immersion into a different culture, learning a language, trying new ethnic cuisines, adding to your global travel resume and making friends and acquaintances. This is without a doubt, life changing and will in the long-run impact...
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