“Travel. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into storyteller”
“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
Over a year had already passed since I left Intiwawa. The second half of 2011, I traveled down to the south of Peru in the beautiful city of Arequipa to technically work on communication projects but instead taught English for about 6 months. At that time I was a little hesitant to accept it because I had no teaching experience and I felt uncomfortable around children. I was scared. I had an idea of what I want to do and teaching wasn’t in the cards. Also just planned on staying for four months but extended through the end of the year. As it turned out, it was the best decision.
Nervous as I was to teach, I felt confident and ready due in part to the other volunteers who came before me and the others who worked with me. I taught English throughout my time there and became an integral part of the Corazon de Jesus staff. I participated in a lot of school activities and bonded well with both the local teachers and the children. I enjoyed my time and deeply appreciative of the schools hospitality. Not only did I teach, I also got to help other children in the area with homework and other things. As the unofficial photographer I documented a wide ranging activities for the organization in San Isidro. Some performed skits, some organized art painting, some played sports and some invented any fun activities the children would enjoy. Being a part of Congeso, an annual weekend conference for the children, proved to be a daunting experience in terms of organizing almost a hundred Intiwawa children at a beach. The planning and execution required every volunteers’ cooperation. It was a quite a success nonetheless. Later in that year, Christmas holiday rolled in. Everyone wanted to give the children an unforgettable experience and we didn’t disappoint. At the end of each day what mattered the most was seeing each of the children smile and enjoy everyone’s company.
Volunteers came from different parts of the world and virtually from all walks of life who shared the same mentality. I still remembered how often I would look at the white board and count how many new volunteers were coming and where they’re from. The two-story apartment building located an hour away from the projects created an oasis for all of us that we called our home away from home. I was one of the few volunteers who stayed longer and witnessed the influx of volunteers coming and leaving. It was difficult at times. But the bond and camaraderie that developed between the volunteers were evident in how much we enjoyed each other on Christmas 2011. The celebration was the symbol of respect for each other and how well everyone worked together. When one leaves, someone else takes the spot. Each person that I met had an influence in my professional growth. Maybe even one person made a lasting impact on me. Thumbs up! But of course, we were all “for the children.”
Looking back, I accomplished a lot of things in the half year. I got to teach to a bunch of amazing Peruvian children, met some of the amazing people from all over the world, participated in variety of events and activities, dealt with a few ups and downs, assisted in organizing a few projects, visited beautiful landscapes and historical buildings, and immersed myself in a different cultural setting. All of these quenched my thirst for traveling.
As I prepare myself in another exciting volunteer work in the Dominican Republic, I will take away the amazing experiences and lasting memories that I gained at Intiwawa. For those of you who are still wondering if Intiwawa is a great organization, there are no questions about it. Please support them as the most recent flooding that devastated the city ofArequipa and surrounding villages caused significant problems for the local people.
By Ronald Tipan