Alumni Spotlight: Erica Barto

Erica Barto is from San Antonio, TX and works as a Personnel Research Assistant.

Morning: Breakfast was prepared in the home and then the volunteers headed to their placements, driven by staff members. I worked in an area called La Victoria with 3 other volunteers. The commute was around 45 minutes with the terrible traffic in Lima and once we arrived at Mother Teresa's home, we were escorted in by our driver. We headed to the physical therapy room, put on our aprons and gloves and started bringing in the men for physical therapy. Many were in wheelchairs or couldn’t communicate and we looked to the veterans in the group to know who to bring in and arrange in the small room. The physical therapists explained (in Spanish or by pointing) what each man’s sore spots were and we grabbed the icy hot and tried to make them feel better by massaging and performing exercises. Around 10:30am, we took them into the dining hall for their rosary and helped the sisters feed those who were unable to themselves.

Afternoon: Then it was time to head back to our home site for lunch with the other volunteers where we shared stories. Sometimes after lunch a cultural activity was provided (Spanish lesson, trip to the Inca market for souvenirs, educational speaker) and if not, we headed to the internet café or mall to pick up things.

Evenings: Some evenings we chose to eat out in the nice area of town overlooking the ocean and go salsa dancing.

Highlight: The weekend in between, I traveled to Cusco and Machu Picchu, which was an unforgettable experience!