HOOP surely made this the best summer of my life. My biggest regret is that I didn’t come for longer!
I wanted to volunteer with HOOP because I love working with children, travelling and helping out wherever I can. This seemed like a perfect way to have it all!
I got to see how HOOP unites the community – not only helping the children, but also the parents. I think that thanks to HOOP the community is going in the right direction. Of course, the most important difference that the organization is making is that it gives the children a chance for a better future.
I feel as if Arequipa became my second home. There wasn’t a single day that I felt alone or foreign. It’s a great place to live with everything you need within walking distance.
I have so many favourite moments! On the first day, a little boy approached me and asked: “Are you going to be my new teacher?” I crouched, so I could see him better and said “yes”. In that moment he threw himself at me and hugged me for about two minutes. That was probably the longest hug of my life!
On one of my last days, I was giving out stickers to my students in Butterfly class. For the kids, the stickers they get when they do a good job are probably the most precious of all things. But on this day, one of my students gave me her heart sticker, so I would remember her when I left. I carry it with me every day. It’s incredible how those who have so little are able to give so much.
Volunteering with HOOP was the best experience of my life. I doubt that spending time in a foreign country will ever feel as fulfilling again.