Volunteering is a big part of why I travel. Initially, the idea behind it was to save more money but then as I was browsing through Workaway to search for available volunteering jobs, I came across a certain ad which would enable me to live with a Peruvian family, help them with English and with their handicraft business.
The thought of it excited me because living with a Peruvian family will give me an authentic experience of how life is in Peru but little did I know that after this experience, I will gain a lot more.
I arrived in Ayacucho, Peru sometime in November 2015 and received a warm welcome from the family and a Scottish girl who was also volunteering at that time. We shared a good meal and a delicious cacau drink.
Their home was located on top of a hill, 20 minutes by foot from the city center. After dinner, they showed me the room I’ll be staying in and I was surprised that I get to have my own room. I mean, they provided each volunteers a private room while they share a room together with one of their sons.
Anyway, since there were 2 of us volunteering, I was assigned to teach English to the boys while Nicola was assigned to help them with their handicraft business. Each day, they would share with us their food and even taught us how to make handicrafts. They went out their way to make our stay comfortable.
They didn’t have a bathroom so we took showers in an empty space with portable water bag. Basic living is an understatement and it took me a day or two to adjust but I didn’t dare complain because this is how they live – simple and contented.
During meals, we would always have nice conversations, share stories and views, and at that dining table, I can easily see that despite having less, they are one happy family. Genuine happiness that money can’t provide.
For a family that doesn’t have much, they were more than willing to share what little they have and it wasn’t just to us, the volunteers. In the duration of my stay, I’ve come to know that their handicraft business also supports other small communities in the neighborhood.
The income they get from selling and exporting handicrafts are being used to send kids to school. Women are also encouraged to help out so they, too, can make a living. They are not in the business of making profits but rather, to generate job opportunities for people with limited resources and provide quality of living.
Currently, they are in need of financial support to help them acquire more clients and promote their handicrafts in the international market. For more info, please visit this website.
I stayed with the family for 10 days and what I did for them is nothing compared to what they’ve shared with me. They’ve given me not just a bed to sleep in or food for my belly but a lifelong lesson that will stay with me forever. And through this, I gain a deeper understanding of what LESS is MORE is truly all about.