Alumni Spotlight: Matt Melville

Why did you decide to volunteer with DWC in Peru?

Matt: I chose to volunteer with DWC because I knew the trip leader through school. She harassed me (in a fun way) to come on the trip, and after thinking about it and hearing about her first DWC experience, I dove in! Peru sounded diverse, and South America on the whole appealed to me.

Group shot of DWC volunteers in Peru

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Matt: We got picked up at 8am by a private combie (small bus) and travelled 50 minutes into the dusty hills where the school (San Jose Obrero) was located. Our day to day roles varied because our project was ongoing. We started by hammering boards together and raising walls. There were limited hammers so not everyone could always be actively partaking. From there we got busy roofing, sanding, priming, painting and making the finished product fairly aesthetically appealing. We interacted with locals and children daily, often playing soccer on their concrete and dirt 'fields'.

Volunteers will help give these children an education

How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?

Matt: One big impact the trip has had on me is reflecting on the fact that the impoverished way of life we saw is similar to that of billions on earth. Yet the people of Villa Maria looked just as happy as those living in the first world. Peru is now a 'second world' country, so financial aid has been cut, sparking a new challenge. The hospitality and friendliness we saw was unreal. While so many people in the first world take the little things for granted, I have a freshened outlook. The opportunity to travel during and after our month volunteering was beyond worthwhile too, especially being in Peru! I cannot wait to both travel and volunteer in the future. I constantly ponder ways to coalesce my learning in Peru with my social sciences degree, because the developing world has so much need.