Global Volunteers’ service-learning program in Lima, Peru offers an incredible volunteer experience for students. Peru Country Manager Daniel Salazar reflects on the service of a recent group of student volunteers from St. John Fisher College. It was a wonderful life experience for both the students and the children they served.
A few days ago we received the visit of a group of students from St. John Fisher College. As a group of pharmacy and nursing students, they came to use their skills and knowledge to teach a series of workshops to both children and staff at PPA, a children´s home in Lima. It was great experience for everyone. The local doctor and the aides were glad to work improving their skills to have a safer environment for the children. The children loved the students because they came, because they were there to teach them, and above all, because they were there to just be with them and play with them.
True, no size of group can adequately handle the energy and curiosity of the children at PPA. No school or science can prepare you to deal with the antics of these children. But it is also true that you don’t quite understand how much these children crave for someone to pay attention to them until you come and see their faces when they realize you came just to be with them.
We tried to tell the students how good the food was, how beautiful the Malecon right behind the hotel was, and how majestic Machu Picchu was. But they didn’t quite get it, until they were there. And of course, we told them how cute the children were, but we failed again. Probably our biggest failure was trying to explain how meaningful the relationships they would form with the children would be. There again, like every volunteer or group of volunteers that has come to serve, the one thing they take with them in their hearts and never forget is the friendship they make with these children. Once more, a group of volunteers came to serve, but they got way more back in return. They not only applied what they had learned in school, to the benefit of the children, but also left having learned more about humanity.
Maru and I, the Peru Country Managers, will miss them. The children will never forget them. And we hope they return and that more groups like them can come, serve and experience what this group just experienced.
This is them: