A Day in the Life of a Volunteer

Quiet office mornings and busy afternoons with the kids
May 31, 2016 - Peru

Peeling some of the freshly harvested beans.

My day normally starts around 7 am, and some days I get up earlier to exercise. During the week we have breakfast at our volunteer’s house, and on the weekends we eat together with all the kids in the dining hall.

I head to the office at 8:00 am. It's nice to meet some kids on my way to the office and to listen to the music in the houses. As the primary school students attend classes in the morning, I use that time to get computer work done. I check my emails and go onto the NPH intranet to see if there are new letters to work on with the kids. I also register new letters that came by mail and hand them out to the secondary school students that are here in the mornings. Last, I collect and scan the letters written by the kids and I translate the letters for people across Canada, the United States and New Zealand to English. My mornings are usually quiet, and at 1:00 pm we have lunch together with the other employees in the dining hall.

My activities during the afternoon, from 2 pm to 6 pm, are completely different than the mornings, as I am now working with the kids. My task is to help the younger kids in reading and writing letters to their godparents. I take my time to work with each child individually. First we talk about the letter, then the child comes up with ideas, and then I assist in forming the sentences. Finally, the child copies what we wrote together and selects a picture to color. Often the drawing part is the highlight for the kids as they can choose their favorite ones. Famous pictures amongst the boys at the moment are soccer clubs and "Slugterra". Famous photos among the girls are Disney drawings, and especially the ones from "Frozen". I am learning a lot about the kids interests during my work with them. The whole process of reading, writing and drawing can take up to 90 minutes per child. So I usually work with maximum three kids on one afternoon. Sometimes I can work with two at the same time, but that didn't always turn out so well until now.

Around 6 pm I leave the office and go to the boy’s home for eleven to fourteen year old boys. That´s my favorite part of the day. I really enjoy being with them, sharing time, dinner and conversations with them. As some are in secondary school and come home later, we have dinner around 7:30 pm. Sometimes they stay up a little longer to do homework or to watch TV, and on other days they go to bed right after dinner. Depending on that I go back to my room between 8:30 and 9:30 pm. Back at home I talk with the other volunteers or with my roommate and I read or write some personal messages. I usually go to bed around 11:30 pm. A day as a volunteer is quite a long day, but I do really enjoy being here. I enjoy my work and especially the time with the boys in the evening. I also think that my job is very nice because it contains quiet time in the office as well as interaction with the kids on an individual basis.

Eva-Maria Koren   
Godparent Office Assistant




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