Our Volunteers found the not only did they feel they had made a positive impact on the lives of the people they had contact with, their own lives had been transformed with confidence and well being Bea one of our latest volunteer writes
It’s impossible to express what an incredible experience I have lived in Villa El Salvador for 3 months.
At first, I felt like I was out of place, everything is so different to what I am use to. However, the moment I started to do some work, things got better.
Every morning I went to the health centre “Centro Médico Parroquial San Martín de Porres” in Oasis, the 10th sector, and poorest sector in Villa. The technical nurses were great and showed me how they worked there. I was so impressed with all the nursing techniques they did, considering that they are all still studying to be nurses: wound care, injections, nebulisers, stitches… All sorts, they even prepare they’re own materials: they cut they’re own gauzes and fold them, so then they can sterilise them; and the same with gloves and the rest of the materials. It’s impressive when in Spain you are used to just opening packets. Anyway, 2 weeks later they considered me as part of the team. And that’s the thing that I most loved of been there. Everybody works as a team: doctors, technical nurses, admission staff, pharmacists, cleaning staff… Everybody has one principal objective: patients. Carol, who is the coordinator, insists on this: quality but most importantly, warmth.
They are a great team, but they are like a family too and since day 1 they transmitted me that.
So, these 3 months I have been spending time with three great women: Maria Ysabel, Maria Martha and Isabel; they work in “Tópico”, which is the nursing room. I have learnt loads from them and spent time outside the health centre, I’ve met they’re children and families, they have invited me to their houses… And that’s impressive too, to see how they actually all live, and to not hear a single complain, they are happy with what they have.
I could write a book with all the things the people from Centro Médico San Martin de Porres have given me: love, kindness, knowledge, confidence…
Sometimes it seemed that I wasn’t very useful, but one of my last days in the health centre, the girls, my friends, thanked me because they said that it was because of me they had developed a stronger friendship between them.
My afternoons consisted on going to “Fe y Alegría” school where I helped the teachers -Gladys and Nancy – with both first year classes.
I helped the children that had more difficulties to write and do the exercises. I just helped the teachers with whatever they needed me to do.
It was lovely to go in the classrooms everyday and watch how all the children run towards me to hug and kiss me.
I went one week to Ayacucho with Silvana, a girl that I met in the Parrish church “La Paz”. Silvana likes doing missionary work when she’s off work and university. I was quite interested in visiting a different part of Peru and it was a really good experience.
Silvana knew some priests that live there and we contacted them. So when we met up with father Fidel, he suggested we should stay with a family he knew from church because a lodging house was going to be too expensive.
And so we did, we stayed with a lovely family that looked after us and treated us as part of the family- the grandmother Carmencita, her daughter, Karina and her granddaughter, Jillian.
It was lovely to meet them and live with them for a week.
And of course, it has been wonderful to meet Claire and Maeve and to live with them, they have been like my grandmothers.
I could keep writing tons of experiences, but here’s some of the most important memories I have taken back with me.
It is very difficult to be back at home and to not think about all the things I have lived in Lima, all the people with whom I’ve become friends, and all the differences that exist between Madrid and Villa El Salvador.
I am hoping to go back soon.
Top Left A day off in Cusco Peru Top right Bea –Nurse in charge! Top Right (2) Friends for Life ! Bottom Left Lesley at work Bottom right Lesley at play !!
August 31st 2016 Lesley writes:
Just to say that we are safe in Bernadette’s house in Madrid after a good journey. Tired but pleased to see everyone here yet sad to have left Peru. I’ll let you know when I am back in England
Sunday 4th 2016
September Just to let you know that I am safely back home in Brighouse and looking forward to seeing you on 17 September. Going to Mass this morning was very difficult. I feel so much part of the church family in Villa El Salvador now.
Bernadette Lesley’s daughter writes:
They have had an amazing experience and have been overwhelmed by the warmth and love they have encountered in everyone they have met. I know they leave a part of their hearts in Villa El Salvador.
………………. I have been very busy. It has been an amazing 3 months!
Every morning I was working at the Centro Médico San Martín de Porres in sector 10 with the technical nurses, who have taught me a whole lot of things and with who I became very close. It has been wonderful to experience how they all work as a great team- doctors, nurses, admission staff, pharmacists… They have actually been like a family to me.
And every afternoon I went to “Fe y Alegría” school, where I helped in two classes with 6-7 year olds. That has been a lovely experience too, the teachers were very grateful I was there and the children were so loving (they didn’t quite understand I had to go back to my own country).
I also went to Taytaqos a few times with Grandma -I’m sure she’s told you all about them!
Looking forward to seeing you all and tell you more about Villa El Salvador.
Thanks ever so much for all the praying I know you have been doing.