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A 12-year-old volunteer vacationer’s perspective of a Globe Aware experience

Laws of Life Essay
David Hauge – 6D
Nysmith School – April 15, 2010

If you are not part of the solution,you are part of the problem

“If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” My mom always says this quote to me. The quote was originally said by Eldridge Cleaver, a civil rights activist in the 1960’s. I believe that it is very true. For Spring Break every year since I was 10, my parents and I have gone to another country to volunteer in their communities. When I was 10 and 11, my family and I went to Vietnam, and it was amazing to see what the people live through every day. No electricity, no running water, no cars. We helped build a house for 2 days, and taught in a school for 2 days. It was a great experience. I would totally recommend it to anyone who would like to be part of the solution.

This year, my family and I went to Cuzco, Peru to help rebuild and play/teach kids ages 8-18. When we first got out of the airport, it was hot and humid. My parents and I met my dad’s identical twin, my uncle, outside. We then met our guide Rosio outside the airport. We left the airport in 2 taxis and started our ride to the albergue, where the kids stayed. When we were traveling through the streets, I saw a lot of broken down buildings that were being rebuilt. I saw many stray dogs, looking for something to eat. I saw many people in small business shops, trying to make a living.

When we arrived at the albergue, we were shown to our rooms. Inside were 4 bunk beds, 1 for each one of us. We settled in, because the kids were not coming until Sunday night, and today was Saturday.  All the kids were at their actual homes for the weekend, except 2. Christopher, an 8 year old, and Samwell, a 13 year old. That afternoon we visited an open-air market. We then got the materials for the project the kids were going to do that week, which was crochet slippers. After we got the materials, we headed back to the albergue and a long awaited good sleep.

The next day, at about 7:00 o’clock, we had a breakfast of bread and cornflakes (that is what I had). We then went to see the town square. Being Palm Sunday and the people in Peru are very Catholic, there were many people there. My family, Lucia, another guide, and I went to about 5 churches. We headed back to the albergue for lunch. The other volunteers arrived while we were in town. They were friends of ours from Virginia and it was fun to have friends on this trip. We all then had an hour-long nap.

After that, we headed to Tipon, a sacred place of the Incas, with some of the kids who had just arrived. It was a long car ride, especially on the dirt roads. When we got there, we started hiking. It was interesting to think that 500 years earlier, Incas stepped on the same stones and grass.

After dinner, we were introduced to the kids. We had them stand up, say where they were from, and one thing they liked to do. Almost all the girls said that they liked volleyball, and all of the boys said that they liked soccer. Being a soccer player, that was nice to hear. We then went to bed and thought of the long day ahead.

The next day we started our work projects, which included rebuilding the carpentry area. We started by moving all the pieces of scrap wood to the far end of the soccer court. Not field, court. Then moved all of the stones to a near by grass area. This is much harder said then done. We did work like this for the next 3 days. Until Wednesday, when things take a twist.

It starts out like any day in the morning, but it starts to rain. So we head inside. I really do not feel well. When my mom takes my temperature, it says 99.9, a low-grade fever. I ended up staying inside almost the whole day, reading. What else could I do? They had no medication, no hospital. I then realized how spoiled we are in this country. Our government is arguing about health care, but in some countries, there is no health care at all. “Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time.” Never take anything for granted. I could have easily gotten very sick and had a big problem.

On Thursday, we went drove for 2 hours by van to build a stove for the villagers up in the mountains. This required my friend Nikhil, 2 other teenage volunteers  from Florida, and me to stomp around in mud (I hope only mud) for a long time, while putting in pieces of grass. After we got home from that experience, we felt good about ourselves. We also all knew that we were going to Machu Picchu the next day, so we were psyched about that.

The next day we caught a 5:00 PM train to the town near Machu Picchu. We spent the night at a nice hotel, waiting the impending doom of waking up before sunrise to get there. When we got up at 4:45 AM, we had breakfast and met our tour guide Hector. We got in line for the bus at 5:15, and saw about 150 people ahead of us. We caught the 13th bus, and were on our way. Hector was a great tour guide. The sights were so beautiful, and the phrase “Memories last a lifetime” really kicks in here.

Overall, the trip was one of the best in my life, and one of the most fun too. I would recommend it to everybody. The organization is called Globe Aware / Adventures in Service. Their message is “Have fun. Help people.” I had fun, and I helped people. My last favorite quote is “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi. Things will not get better by themselves — we each need to be part of the solution.

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1 Comment
  1. […] GlobeAware is a nonprofit that organizes short-term volunteer opportunities abroad. The group sponsors this blog, which discusses ways that volunteers can get involved, both at home and abroad, and features volunteer experiences. Some interesting recent posts include Photo Memories of Ghana During a Globe Aware Volunteer Vacation, Volunteer Vacations for Singles and A 12-year-old Volunteer Vacationer’s Perspective of a Globe Aware Experience. […]

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