Brit Joe Lynch volunteered at our Peru Community Project in Cusco for 2 weeks in the winter of 2013. Here he tells us why he chose Globalteer, and explains why he thinks being able to act silly and get dirty are essential skills for volunteering:
At the end of 2012 I decided to take a year out and focus on something different; I wanted to give back and specifically wanted to help kids wherever in the world they were suffering most. I was always fascinated by Peru so it seemed like a good place to start my research.
Ruling out the "big boys"
I decided to rule out the really big companies (not sure where my money goes, very expensive, corporate when dealing with them and never really felt comfortable talking with them). But Globalteer stood out to me as a well run, medium size organisation that had the type of projects I was interested in and I really enjoyed my early discussions with them.
In my work I do a lot of stuff with kids trying to understand what makes them tick…mostly about things they like and the brands - food, drinks, games etc - that they choose. I’ve always been surrounded by kids through my family and friends and always enjoyed bringing a bit of joy into their lives.
What I enjoyed most about volunteering
Every day the kids turned up they would always have a smile on their face and would always be pleased to see you. Sometimes it was the smallest of things that really had a big impact on me. I really did enjoy lesson planning – coming up with an idea for an art or English class, getting the materials together and then seeing the class run smoothly and watching the kids get involved and enjoy what they were doing. I was really amazed at some of the work they produced and just goes to show that talent and creativity exists in all kinds of children all over the world no matter what their background or situation.
I think they volunteers definitely need to be comfortable around children; know how to communicate with them; know how to play games and interact on the spot with a group of kids demanding FUN. Anyone coming to volunteer should not be shy or get really quiet when they are asked questions by kids …. In essence, they need to be willing to get down on the floor and act silly, get dirty and have fun - something adults usually forget how to do once they get passed a certain age!
I was very impressed with the whole Globalteer operation – having the Gobalteer team on the ground over there really made a difference and you can see the amazing bonds they have created with the kids. I got to see first hand where the money goes and what a difference it is making to the lives of ‘real’ children that I actually met, bonded with and spent some very special time with.
A humbling experience
The staff at the project were all warm, friendly, welcoming and you could see that they really enjoyed their work and that the kids looked up to them. It was great to have the opportunity to see first hand how they each work and it was nice to see such a mix of different skills. It was very humbling to think that they do this full time and I was only there for such a short amount of time. I was fortunate enough to work with a great bunch of volunteers and have stayed in touch with most of them since we have left Peru and hope one day our paths will cross again.
If Joe has inspired you to volunteer with us in Peru, please fill in the Peru Community Project application form and you could be on your way to joining us in Cusco!