Suddenly, you realize you are part of this family

Stefan, an international year-long volunteer from Germany, reflects on the close of his term at NPH Peru.
March 12, 2019 - Peru

Have you ever had a dream that you never let go, never let die, until you were finally able to fulfill it? For many years it was my dream to go to South America to work, to live, and to learn. Last year, this dream came true in a small town in Peru.

For most of my life, I did volunteer service in some capacity. I grew up in a Christian parish where I helped organize vacations for the younger members of my church. Taking care of children and teaching them skills for their future was what drove me, and still does.

I remember how my first days in NPH were full of new experiences. It was interesting, but it was hard, too. Working with children who speak another language isn‘t always that easy. But as time passed by, I found more and more ways to communicate. Playing a game was one such way, and so sports became even more important for me over the year.

A typical day for a volunteer in NPH Peru is a mixture of a lot of different things that challenge one's skills in many ways. Sometimes I organized activities, like making pizza with the children. Sometimes I had daily tasks to complete in my role as assistant communications officer and volunteer coordinator for the home. But some of the most intense and challenging moments during the day were at night around the dinner table or helping the children do their homework.

It is incredible to see how different life at NPH is compared to your life before. In the morning, I went to the office to work in both the Communications department and as volunteer coordinator. Even the simple walk to work is full of moments with the kids who live at NPH. Many of the children come to chat or play for a moment. And suddenly, you realize that you are part of this family.

Soon it will be time for me to leave the home of NPH Peru. New volunteers are already here, and I know that they will continue the hard work and positive relationships that we have formed with the children. I know that I won‘t see the children and our great staff for a while. But I know, too, that there will be time to visit this family again one day.

Stefan Winkelmann   
Communication Officer Assistant




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