Alumni Spotlight: Jessica Damasco

Jessica Damasco is from Los Angeles, CA attending California State University: Los Angeles as a full time nursing student. She enjoys trying new food and going to the beach. She loves meeting new people and hanging out with her friends.

Jessica ziplining in Guatemala

Highlights: I was placed in a health care clinic and I loved it. The first day I was there, I was giving injections and removing stitches. At that time, I had not even started nursing school and I was already thrown into doing procedures that I was not licensed to do in America. It gave me the experience and confidence I needed to excel in nursing school. I also enjoyed the people I was working with at the health care clinic. They were extremely kind and caring.

The best part of this program was the balance between volunteering and experiencing the culture of Guatemala. Weekends were our time to plan travels around the country. I was able to travel to Antigua, Tikal, and Montevideo. Our program coordinator, Virginia really helped with planning our weekend trips and it was up to us where we wanted to go and how much we wanted to spend. I also felt extremely safe. The precautions taken are no different than traveling to any other foreign place.

Morning: The weekday mornings would consist of waking up around 8 in the morning and having breakfast which is prepared by the house cooks. It would usually be eggs, toast, or cereal. Then all the volunteers would be transported by the program's van and driver to their respective placements (community health center, orphanage, day care, etc.) The van belongs to the program, and the driver stayed in the home base, so it felt really safe.

Jessica hiking with fellow interns

Afternoon: Around lunch time, the van would pick each person up from their placement and drive back to the home base. At this time lunch would be waiting in the dining hall. Lunch usually consisted of Guatemalan food prepared by the cooks. My favorite were the tacos and fresh fruit. The cooks would also prepare freshly squeezed juices. After lunch was usually downtime. After an hour or two of downtime, there would be afternoon activities that you could choose to participate in. Some activities offered were Spanish lessons and dance lessons. Other afternoons, we would visit local attractions like museums and historic buildings.

Evening: In the evenings, after the afternoon activities would be personal time. Usually we would decide to go out to dinner or bars in the city. There would be dinner offered at the home base, but because there were many of us around the same age, we wanted to explore the city. We would take a cab into the city. There were a few cab drivers who were familiar with CCS and we would usually have them drive us. Sometimes, Virginia, the program director, would make sure we got into the cab safely and get the number of the cab driver.