3 months in Peru
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Jun 6, 2012 5:58 AM Last Post By: alaidbacklife
May 17, 2012 11:07 AM
3 months in PeruHello all,
I will be traveling to Peru for 3 months beginning in July. I'd like to learn Spanish (or as much as I can in a three month span) and was interested in volunteering while I'm here. I'm in my 30s and most volunteer programs seemed geared toward recent grads or younger, which I'm not crazy about. I've looked at "volunteer vacations" which seem full of teens/20s and are expensive to boot as well as local NGOs.
There's also the problem of volunteering (I'd like to work with indigenous women) while not speaking the language.I don't know how helpful I'd be. Alternately I'd love to be immersed in a farming community, though I can't find too many opportunities to do that. There does seem to be a need for working with kids but that's not really my thing.
What does the group think? Should I forgo volunteering altogether? If so, besides language lessons what would I do with my days? Has anyone done this?
Also I'm keen on learning all about the culture and traveling mainly on weekends. From what I've seen on the boards so far, the consensus is to avoid Lima and Cusco. The other alternative would be an isolated rural community, which I'd be ok with too. So far haven't had any luck with the few NGOs I've researched in the Andes. Either way, I'd want to have a base because of language lessons.
And finally, any recommended guides or websites? I figure I will map out my travel myself (with the help of this forum).
Thanks in advance for any help!
May 17, 2012 1:16 PM
1I'm on the Footprint guide to Peru at the moment, and it is excellent (which is Footprint's general reputation in South America, which they've been covering since the 20s). I'm also partial to the Rough Guide, which is particularly strong on archaeology, indigenous issues, and the Amazon (though a few years out of date).
As for volunteer/voluntourism possibilities, you may want to check these folks out, or get in touch with some members through the main offices:
Both are coffee cooperatives with membership spread out around northern Peru (which would be a cool place for you to spend some time anyway, off the Gringo Trail and away from most of the big voluntourism outfits farther south).
Might be worth getting in touch one you've brushed up your Spanish a bit, or have someone who speaks the language make the connection for you.
May 18, 2012 7:29 AM
2I just see now that you do say what kind of volunteer work you want to do :-) well anyways intiwawa also works with women (the mothers of the children we work with)-- the tejido project, it is an organised workshop where women are thaught to knit and do crochet. The finished product they want to sell in european markets or other places. I know they need help to get this project moving a bit, it still needs some work on how to actually execute it better. Well it is running, the women have the workshop, intiwawa is just trying to find a way to make it a self sustainable project. (meaning where and how to sell the finished products) same here get into contact with jana if you are interested.
Jun 4, 2012 8:38 AM
I'd suggest checking out the ECELA schools in Lima and Cusco, Peru. They have specific Spanish + volunteering programs, so they should have some good contacts for you to use in finding a volunteer placement.
Most organizations like for you to have several weeks of Spanish lessons before beginning to volunteer.
Jun 6, 2012 5:56 AM
4my advice: download the Michael Thomas learn Spanish tapes and listen to them before you go, then spend 6 weeks travelling Peru, staying out of the gringo hostels like Loki and in hospedajes instead. Based on personal experience that will be enough to get you up to a very decent level of Spanish to volunteer on. Peruvians are very friendly and you will have endless opportunities to practise speaking, once you get over the shyness and be happy speaking broken Spanish at the start.
I volunteered for 9 months with Pisco Sin Fronteras and it was one of the best experiences of my life. They are a complete blast, it was entirely free, and the community is a very special one to be a part of. Plus you get to build houses, schools, hospitals and community centres for people who have been living in a shack for 5 years. www.piscosinfronteras.org
Jun 6, 2012 5:58 AM
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