One of the best ways to give something back to the places you visit and for personal growth is to take part in some kind of volunteer activities. This is the best way to experience the places you visit and see things from a totally different perspective, thus enhancing your visit to any part of the world and contributing to the local community. Here are some fantastic reasons to do some volunteering in Peru.
Experiencing cultures from a different perspective
Meaningful travel is one way of experiencing a culture to the maximum while making some kind of positive impact on the local community. Of course, you want to visit the main tourist attractions in Peru. However, volunteering in Peru allows you to live like a local and experience the real way of life that is not usually seen on the tourism trail. You can arrange to stay in a local family home, and eat local food, take the local public transport and take part in local celebrations, far removed from the usual routes and usually what a regular tourist would never experience. The ability to see and experience life “as it is” is the best way to get to know a culture authentically and also make a contribution to local society.
The unique experience of making lifelong friends on the other side of the world
Some of the most amazing memories are formed when you experience something that wasn't even planned like meeting new people who you otherwise would never have the chance to meet. Whether these people are local Peruvians from the family where you stayed or even other volunteers, the friendships you form when you are far from home, generally turn out to be the most important people you will ever meet. You are likely to form a family away from your family and are each other’s support system throughout your visit and although it’s hard to say goodbye at the end of the trip, it’s also a reason to have a reunion further down the line :)
It allows you to make a difference, big or small!
It is incredible to see how families work so hard to provide the basic necessities of life. While it would be easy to be bitter or miserable with the sometimes difficult living conditions, you will never see a happier, thankful and appreciative group of people, for the help that you are able to give, no matter how big or small. People will include you in every step of the way and make you a temporary member of their family. You can make a difference simply by being there and letting families know that you care. You can be sure that you will remain in their memories for a long time to come!
Doing good…. feels good!
One of the basic emotional necessities of life is compassion. The notion of feeling important and cared for is vital for our well-being and having someone to help you along the way, give you a hug when you need one or simply listen to someone's concerns, is priceless. To be able to give is part of our biological and psychological make-up and the joy to see another human being appreciate something that you have done for them is second to none. When it is all stripped down, we are all human beings and cut from the same cloth…. so it is important to appreciate the goodness that someone does for us and also the good we can transmit to others.
It puts things in perspective
When we see people so happy with their circumstances, even those who we consider to have an impoverished or difficult life, it helps us appreciate our lives that much more. Sometimes we get bogged down in the trivial idiosyncrasies of our lives and caught up in “first world problems”. However, working as a volunteer can have the uncanny knack of making you feel how really blessed you are. Appreciating the things we have and being grateful for what we have in life, is a game changer. It can help us focus then on what really matters and indirectly improve our personal attitudes and psychological well-being.
Volunteer work quite often has the biggest effect on the volunteer, it’s a totally life changing experience that makes us grow as human beings, who only too often, become refocussed on the smaller picture. Opening our minds and perspectives can only be a good thing and we are also contributing to others who in some ways are less fortunate than us, but quite often provide us with the biggest life lessons that we will carry with us forever. Be on the lookout for volunteer opportunities in Peru when you visit!