I usually like thinking about the beginning. I have lots of amazing travel memories, but there is one that I consider the best.
It was the 20th of July 2017; with lots of different feelings in my head, I got off the plane and felt the humid air of Lima. In a couple of days, I would be starting my adventure with The Light and Leadership Initiative (LLI). Outside the airport, the Coordinator of LLI was waiting for me with a welcome sign. Everything was happening the exact way it was supposed to be. We took a taxi, and we started the ride to Huaycan, my new home for the next 12 months. I remember looking outside the window, the city passing by, people, colors, houses, the sea... And then we arrived at Huaycan.
The impact was at the same time exciting and frightening. Would I be able to learn and do my job? How would this new culture accept me? Will I be able to break cultural barriers? I had so many questions that usually mark new beginnings, and there were few answers at that time. However, I got them now! Thanks to the help of an amazing staff, a very welcoming community, the happiness of the participants, and the support of other volunteers, now friends, this experience has been one of the bests of my life!
Thanks to my experience at LLI, I am now more aware of the struggles that less advantaged people have to deal with everyday. I feel like I have a better understanding of the complexity of the world, and I have understood that you have to work very hard, when volunteering abroad, to have a positive impact on the community you are serving.
Volunteering abroad is not being a tourist, this is so clear to me. You have to learn a lot from the hosting culture and other people that very often, you feel like you have so little to give back. This is what happens; we are grains of sand participating in a long term process, and the only thing we can do is contribute in the best way we can, responsibly.