My Past Missions

La Victoria, Lima Peru August 2007

We all have those pivotal points in our lives when we feel we must either pursue our dreams or put them on the side to be more "practical".  Well being the gal that I am - I needed to find a way to do both and that is when I first learned of volunteer vacations.  As you have probably gathered volunteering is my passion and while I seek out as many opportunities as possible - the thought of submerging myself for two weeks in a different culture and working directly with the people was beyond exciting.

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Peru 2007






As I began researching programs- I found Cross Cultural Solutions and a program for Lima Peru that was going to be just perfect, Mother Teresa's Home for the Destitute and the Dying in La Victoria.  This was also special because a dear friend of mine had grown up in Lima and had told me of the struggles of the people in certain parts of the country and that this was an area in need- that was it for me. My decision was made…..

It dawned on me that I would have to break this to my folks.  I wasn't sure how they would feel about their daughter or as my mom would say "Sunshine" and my Dad would say "Girl" would handle the fact that I was packing my bags and heading to a certain type of unknown.   I still remember telling them and just how proud and supportive they were- they knew that this was my passion and they were behind me 100%.

With my bags packed- I headed to Lima- with simply no idea of what to expect.  On the first day of our assignment, there was only two of out of the group that had picked this project in Lima.  When we arrived at Mother Teresa's I was simply overcome with emotion as I saw the people lining the streets... the children and the elders just tugged at my heart strings.  As we entered the facility, I was amazed by how many people were staying at the Home.  To some I know that this program can sound depressing but it was the complete opposite.  These people were so happy to have each other, they took care of each other, in essence they were each others family.  To see these connections was heartwarming.

Our project was to assist in physical therapy and to help with lunch time feedings.  Slipped on my rubber gloves and started rubbing on what I will say was Bengay or something that smelled like that.  But what was really remarkable was the connection we were able to make with the people and it wasn't really through dialogue it was through a smile, or looking in someones eyes as they were trying to tell you what hurt, and it was a touch of a hand when someone needed nurturing.  At times things were funny and I would laugh (which some may describe as a loud belly laugh) and you could see the looks in their eyes that they felt connected to us as well.

There is one distinct memory I have when we were doing our feeding and alot of the patients had various types and ranges of disabilities - however when it came to recite the prayer of Mother Teresa- not one person was not saying it.  Secretly my eyes filled up with tears because it was simply the most beautiful thing I have witnessed.  Right then I knew I was where I was exactly meant to be.

In the afternoon, I would walk and talk (had a handy cheat sheet) or just sit with the patients.  It was my favorite time, because while I didnt understand what they might have been saying to me I would look into their eyes and know that we were connecting.  There was one dear man that couldn't really speak but I would feed him and then roll him back to the outside and we would sit together.  He would try to talk and I would rub his hand....and I realized that this was communication at its best.  It was real, away from electronics, texting, emailing and everything else- it was looking into someones eyes, seeing their souls and feeling a connection in your heart. 

When it came time to say goodbye- I walked the halls to say goodbye and with tears in my eyes knew that while I was only there for a couple of weeks- my heart had been touched and that at some level I had touched these very special people as well.  I couldn’t dream of a better vacation.