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January 10, 2009

Volunteer Vacation to Peru with Globe Aware

This one in a series of articles about taking a service vacation to Peru, coordinated by Globe Aware.

Over the past few weeks our plan to celebrate 15 years of marriage in Paris has transformed into taking a volunteer vacation. The idea of going to Ireland in April and to Paris in June seemed incredibly excessive.

It happened one night when we got to talking about Paris and decided to look to poke around a bit for a one-week trip where we could travel together and spend our time engaged in service at the same time we were experiencing the culture and geography of somewhere new. Turns out there are many groups who coordinate short-term, international service trips (or "volunteer vacations").

After researching and talking to a few folks, the organization that seems to fit us is Globe Aware. Peru, and the description of the Andean Village Trip, have us all excited so we're setting our sights on that.

What has been surprising is the lack of independent reviews for these trips. Google turns up several newspaper articles, and YouTube has a nice selection of videos, but they all seem derived from materials generated by Globe Aware. Globe Aware has an alumni section on their site, with volunteer-submitted writings, that are closer to what I'm looking for:

We were introduced to Senora Ydelicia, the mayor of San Pedro - a young woman, casually dressed and wearing the typical straw hat the ladies wear. She reminded us of our first task at hand - painting some of the houses in order to make the village more attractive to the many visitors that they are anticipating for an upcoming festival.

While a few of the "castenos" mixed the powder and water primer in the street, all of us, alongside the mayor, and a few locals, divided into groups and painted. More members of the community, including children, joined in as the day went on, and by sunset, we had primed about ten houses. I think we all felt fulfilled by what we had accomplished.

Perhaps the currently available information is enough, but it would help a lot if there were just one or two independent sources that would corroborate.

Have you been on one of these trips, or know someone that has?

Update: The trip was awesome. It was well coordinated, and more than we could have imagined. See our post-trip entry for more details.

Posted by mike at January 10, 2009 1:53 PM