Written by Irene Ficarra, Italy.
My volunteer experience
After almost twenty years living far from my homeland, Sicily, in the middle of last year I decided to turn my life around and go back to the origins and start all over from there!
But before starting over and writing a new chapter of my life, I decided to do an experience that I had always had in my heart, that of international volunteering.
And so, after leaving everything that tied me to Milan, I went to South America.
After two and a half months in Costa Rica, where I was engaged in a project for the protection of sea turtles, at the end of January I took a plane that took me to Peru.
As I arrived in Ollantaytambo, a small town in the middle of the Sacred Valley surrounded by the Andes and the Inca ruins, I immediately felt a positive energy, the house that houses the volunteers is located a few minutes walk from the main square, there I was greeted by Mayra, the coordinator of us volunteers, who won me over with her magnetic smile.
The day after my arrival, I was immediately included in the weekly activity plan. The volunteers support in taking care of the special needs children, who live in this wonderful place, but unfortunately cannot offer them the help they need.
Every day we visit them directly at their homes or we pick them up and bring them to the house where we all live together, we do rehabilitation therapies with them, we help them with school homework or we simply play with them to give them moments of carefree that often, despite their young age and due to the conditions in which they live, they don’t know or should put aside to help mom and dad in their daily activities to support the family.
The moments that I have spent with the children are the most precious memory that I will always carry with me… Nelson, his pure energy, the capture of his gaze and his smile is a great reward; Benjamin who made me excited when one day he began to sing Happy Birthday, every little progress made is an achievement for his future; Pocho, his two black eyes that conquers you and that convey to you all the will that he has to learn and know what exists outside that little house. I hope he can continue his studies because that little man deserves all the best in life.
These are just some of the children to whom I have dedicated my time and that I hope, although in my little one, to have given help, of which I am sure and that have given me a lot and have made me reflect on the importance of many things we often take for granted.
THANK YOU, SPECIAL CHILDREN!