In this week’s blog, one of our fantastic Aussie volunteers, Lauren, tells us how she unexpectedly found herself volunteering at HOOP.
When I first came to South America, I hadn’t planned on working with kids. I’m a backpacker at heart, so I wanted to see the world, try new experiences, and eat everything I can possibly eat! I was happy enough knowing my social contribution, as I wound my way across the continent, came in the form of my tourist dollar going back into the local economies (or something like that!).
So it could have only been fate that I found myself in the never-heard-of-it-before city of Arequipa, Peru. And it was by a stroke of even greater luck that I stumbled upon a message on the internet from HOOP communications manger, Tom, looking for new teachers. My first impression, with my no-Spanish-no-skills-kinda-scared-of-kids personality, was “how could I possibly help?” But then, “think of the children!”
Okay, I’ll do it!
Well, two months later I’m still involved at HOOP and the time spent in the classroom and with the local community was an absolute blast! All hesitations about volunteering were quickly dispersed as the support network of HOOP and a natural instinct to be awesome kicked in!
The kids are crazy, but they love to learn, love to come to the school, so it makes it a pleasure to teach. The other volunteers are helpful and brilliant people, it’s sad to see them go, and exciting to have new people come.
But overall, the overwhelming comments from myself, and other volunteers I chatted to, is that they wished they could have stayed longer! Unfortunately costly airline fees to postpone return flight dates are single-handedly crippling the volunteer industry!! Haha. I was lucky, I had no tickets booked, I had the flexibility to extend my stay, blissfully trapped in the HOOP cycle of giving, growing, and greatness.
So my advice if you’re heading to HOOP to volunteer; book a one way ticket!