There are some health and safety risks you should be aware of before signing up to volunteer with us. Please read through the risks below, and feel free to email our volunteer coordinator if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travelling to/from the HOOP school
As with any form of transport, there are inherent risks. Road safety standards and the quality of public transport may not be as high as what you are used to. For example, you will not be provided with a seatbelt and the buses that you will take to and from the school are often crowded and you will often have to stand. Please be aware that HOOP cannot be held responsible for incidents involving HOOP volunteers taking public transport to and from the HOOP school.
As a HOOP volunteer, you will probably be involved in our ‘cancha’ (playground) time after class. We organize fun group sports activities for the children and, while this is an enjoyable time of the day, please be aware of the risks involved by practicing sports, such as strains, bruises, or breaks.
Stray dogs are prevalent in Flora Tristán, and the area around the HOOP school. While they are mostly harmless, they can occasionally be aggressive. Volunteers should stay in groups when walking through the community to the HOOP school and avoid aggressive-looking dogs. Picking up a rock will usually be enough to deter aggressive dogs. If you are bitten by a dog, you will need to consult a physician immediately.
Arequipa is a little higher than 2300 meters (7660 feet) above sea level. Some people experience mild effects of altitude such as shortness of breath, headaches, or dizziness. If this happens, you should rest and take it easy while your body acclimatizes to the altitude during your first few days in Arequipa.
Arequipa is in an earthquake zone. However, usually they are small tremors that do not do any damage. In the rare cases of more severe earthquakes, follow the procedures for earthquakes, which are displayed on the wall in the HOOP office and will be explained to you during your volunteer induction.
Food & water
Do NOT drink the water from the tap, except if it has been boiled for three minutes beforehand or treated with a filter or water purification tablets. Food should either be washed, peeled or cooked to avoid bacterial infection and stomach problems. Stomach problems and diarrhea are common for travellers in Peru, and you should treat this by drinking rehydration solution and resting. If the problem persists, consult a physician.
Theft and pickpocketing
Pickpocketing is common on the public bus to and from the school. It can also occur during school hours, or after class. Keep your bag close to you and do not put possessions in your pockets or on outside pockets of bags. At the school, keep personal belongings locked in the Resource Room, and do not bring valuables.