For an individual who has never done any construction work, much less volunteer work, it was a little daunting at first knowing our task was to build the initial foundation of a clinic. Rebar? Had no idea what that was. That being said, it was so simple and fun to pick up on. Our construction guide was beyond helpful; he was resourceful, energetic, and always willing to help. Not only was it a fun experience getting our hands dirty, but it was also so rewarding. The fulfilling part about construction was that we could actually SEE our work over the course of the week progress so quickly. To know that I helped build columns made with our own hands is something I will never forget.
Our home was incredible! Literally felt like our own little penthouse pad. Both husband and wife (and their kids) were so sweet; always smiling and helpful. On top of that, the wife just happened to be an undercover chef. Really though. I've never tasted fries and pumpkin soup as great as hers. The best part was that we felt like locals while staying at an apartment; food from the culture versus eating at a restaurant every night for breakfast and dinner.
Through BA, I was part of a group of people from different states, occupations, ages, etc. And we all meshed perfectly. You get a bunch of different senses of humor all in one apartment/house and you're guaranteed to have a good time and learn a lot about one another. Nothing better than exploring a new country with a group of people who have just as much of a love for travel and volunteering as you do.
Cusco, Peru is nothing short of beautiful. The difference between where I live in Chicago and Cusco was really what I appreciated the most. A trip with BA once again showed me that simplicity is key. It was a humbling experience and definitely impactful. Cusco is home to so many fun things to do: Machu Picchu, touring Sacred Valley, finding the best pisco sour the restaurants have to offer, the list is endless. My best advice: step out of your comfort zone, do something that scares the hell out of you, learn something new about yourself and the place you go to, and be genuine about the work you do for others.