I have no words to convey what an amazing experience I had with Volunteers Peru in Arequipa!
Since the very first day I arrived at the Volunteers Peru's office I felt at home. My first weekend in Arequipa, Marita (the founder) invited me and the other volunteers to her home to meet her family and to teach us how to prepare a delicious Peruvian dish. We had so much fun! We not only learned how to cook "Rocoto Relleno" but she also taught us how to dance with traditional Andean music.
It was really convenient to stay at the Honey House Hostel because the office is right there and I knew I could count on Marita's and Megan's (director) help and advice at any time. This hostel is located downtown, just three blocks from the main plaza. You can walk everywhere(shops, restaurants, tourist sites, etc.) because you live right in the middle of everything, which makes you feel part of the life of Arequipa, not like a tourist.
I did not know what to expect from the girls at Casa Hogar Torre Fuerte. I only knew that they came from abusive situations and extreme poverty. I prepared myself for the possibility of meeting children with issues of anger, distrust, etc. I could not have been more mistaken! The very first moment I arrived at Torre Fuerte I was surrounded with smiling girls hugging me, holding my hand, asking me to play with them, to help them with their homework, with so much love to give and so much joy to share! It was amazing. It brings tears to my eyes even now to remember how much more I received from them than I was able to give.
Every single volunteer that I met at Volunteers Peru had a life changing experience, me included. I recommend this organization with no reservations and convinced that if you decide to go, this experience will surpass whatever you are hoping for.
I am coming back next year, hope to meet you there! :-)