Over the Thanksgiving break, I got the privilege of going to Peru to see my family. This is nothing new to me because we go almost ever year, if not every other year.
The thing that made this time different was having my good friend, Sam, meet up with us in Quillabumba, the little town where my grandparents live. Sam is a super nice kid and my family immediately love him. We visited waterfalls and went zip-lining, it was a grand old time.
Sam was in Peru because every year he like to take as much time as he can to volunteer at a home for disabled kids called El Hogar San Fransisco De Asis. He was staying there for a little over a month. In Quillabumba Sam invited me to come to the home with him and volunteer with him for a few days. I said yes, but honestly I was absolutely terrified. I am not good with kids, I can barely speak Spanish, and I will have no idea what I’m doing. After only minimal persuading, I went to the home with Sam, and I must say, it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Sam and I woke up at 3:30 in the morning, and took a taxi 5 and a half hours form Quillabumba to Cusco. Then we took a plane from Cusco to Lima, and then a bus from Lima to Chaclacayo, we arrived around 4:00 in the afternoon. We walked into the house into complete chaos. There were toys on the floor, children playing, children screaming, women yelling at some kids. The thing is that all of these kids had some sort of physical disability, some were severe burn victims, some were missing limbs, some had cerebral palsy. Needless to say I was immediately extremely nervous.
I quickly realized that these were some of the happiest kids I had ever met in my life. The kids are always making fun and laughing and you quickly forget that they have any sort of disabilities. Part of the volunteer’s responsibilities are to take the children to the doctors in Lima, this is the time when you realize the severity of the kid’s conditions, but as soon as they are back in the home with their friends they are back to being happy and fun. I spent 3 days volunteering at the home and I had an amazing time. I have endless respect for Sam because he is staying there for over a month.
Overall this was an awesome trip and I am looking forward to going back to Peru to see my family and volunteer at the home again soon, next time I will stay longer.