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PERU | Wednesday, 30 July 2008 | Views [1708]

Kids from Incawasi mucking around out the front of the pools.

Kids from Incawasi mucking around out the front of the pools.

Jerome and I took a supposed 6hr (which actually toook 8hrs) bus ride to Cajamarca. Once there, we made our way to Incawasi, a before and after school for poor children that is run by local and foreign volunteers. Incawasi wants to improve and develop the educational, social and nutritional situation of children from disadvantaged areas within the city, and currently care for 40 children between the ages of 6 and 15.
There are alot of things for the children to do here in the large Incawasi building, which sits right near the center of town. They have computer, English and dance classes, plus every Friday they have activities day when they do things like treasure hunts.   
We realised when we arrived that we had come during holidays, and so all of the Peruvian workers were not there for two weeks. It was however, really touching to see five volunteers who had decided to keep Incawasi open during the whole of the holidays for the children. The volunteers had alot more work to do while the Peruvian workers were not in, including cooking for all of the children, and doing extra cleaning. The volunteers say it is not as structured during the holidays, but it gives them a chance to have fun with the kids and get to know them better. 
The volunteers still helped the chidren with their homework, and decided to make it fun for the kids by taking them out around Cajamarca to experience many different activities. The second day we were there we went to the swimming pools, and another day we went up to the top of a big hill to view the city and we also went to watch a parade during a festival.Twice a day, a healthy and delicious meal was cooked for te kids.
Fiona, who is 29 years old and from Ireland, has been volunteering here at Incawasi for 3 months, and is at her final days. The children just seem to absoloutly love her, flocking to her, and giving her many cuddles. she had taken on alot since the begining of the hooidays, and hes been dedicated to helping in many different areas of the organisation.
Karl, who is 20 and from Detroit, has been studying economics in Scotland, and has come here to Incawasi, also to help. He has only been here for about a week, but says he has already had an amazing experience, and has also learnt a bit of Spanish. He says ¨Life is not easy for some of us¨, which shows just how much he cares about helping these children who are much less fortunate than many others.
It was so great to meet an Australian volunteer for the first time in my journey! Roger, 42 from Melbourne, has been volunteering at Inca wasi for 7 months and is sure that after he leaves, he will return again to continue helping. Roger used to work for a bank back in Australia, but is now retired and decided to help here at Incawasi.
Roger didn´t hear of the organisation Incawasi until after travelling to Cajamarca to stay with a friend. He was just going to travel around, but decided to be socially responsible, as he is lucky enough to have a great life, and can do whatever he pleases. He thinks that more people who are so fortunate should also be more socially responsible. He has absolutely loves working with the children here, and you can really see what a massive effort he makes within the organisation.
Christina from Ireland has come to Incawasi for the 3rd time in 3 years. I shared a room with her during my stay, and luckily, as she had told me she sometimes does, didn´t scream during the night when having nightmares. Such a cool girl though... she showed us alot of the social and local side to Cajamarca, which was fantastic. In fact, this was the best place I have ever gone out in for social outings.
Alison, the sweetest American girl, was always waking up early to prepare food for the children... for everyone. It really hit her emotionaly when she went up to the mountains to visit the family of one of the children. In one of the rooms they saw a 102 year old man, dying on the floor with a new born baby lying beside him. In this room is where all of the family give birth, and most probably where they all die.
The family were begging the volunteers to help get the man, who had no papers, burried. For religious reasons it was very important that the man received a proper burial. It was such a contrast of life for Alison to see the man and the baby lying together, and at times emotionally agonising when the family begged for help, but she enjoyed and respected their strong family bonds and values within the community.
The mad died two days later, and the volunteers were still trying to figure out the best way to go about things even after we had left.  
During my whole journey, I have not encountered a group of more dedicated, fun, and welcoming volunteers, who decided to help the children by running the organisation during their own volunteer holidays.
I also thought it was great that they have open files, so you can see that whatever expenses you pay, you can be sure that the money goes to where it is truly needed... to the kids. 
Incawasi is always in need of volunteers and donations. To help out in any way visit the following website:  http://www.incawasi.de 

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