My Reflection on Peru

This spring break I was a part of the Spanish language trip to Peru, a joint ventue between Friends Seminary and Envoys. We had a fantastic time exploring many different communities within the country as well as the natural wonders that Peru has to offer. We also learned from and volunteered with members of these local communities to collaborate on mutually beneficial projects such as planting fruit trees that provided shade, income, food, and fresh air. These service experiences were so valuable to both us as a group and the recipients of our work because we did not come to do help with what we thought the recipients would like, we listened to their needs and used our skills and resources to address their needs as best we could. This difference between coming in to satiate our need to feel good about ourselves and feel that we were good people versus the willingness we showed to understand their issues from their point of view and help only in the capacity that they needed and wanted makes all the difference in the world. The service we did truly felt like it was positively impacting the lives of the people we worked with, and it felt like we were truly addressing the problems that the local populations were dealing with. I remember reading an article several years ago about how much of the aid that first world countries were sending to impoverished third world villages was not actually addressing the issues facing the population, and was merely a way for the donators to feel fufilled, meaningful and good about themselves. And having now done sevice alongside locals who were in charge of the work we did, I can say that service in this fashion is far more rewarding then donating items that one thinks are needed in a community where the people recieving the aid are not even known, let alone acquantances that have been met in person. Taking the time to work with the local population to learn about, asses, and then address the problems they are facing is the most rewarding service bar none, both for the recipient and the volunteer.image

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