We aren't on this RTW for voluntourism. As terrible as this sounds, we aren't actively seeking out ways to volunteer our time, donate our money or help the greater good of the world. Some people travel specifically to volunteer, whether on a mission trip or with the Peace Corps or at orphanages. That is all very admirable.
We are traveling to experience cultures and people just they way they are.
However, Brian and I love people and when people ask for help, we are hardpressed to say no.
When we returned from Machu Picchu, we ended up running into our Swiss friends from the Colca Canyon hike, Camilla & Eliya, at Norton's pub in Cusco.
While we were chatting, a sweet girl named Emily came up to our table and asked if we minded volunteering the next day for a school project they were working on.
She is in a college group project putting together brochures and a new marketing plan for a special needs facility and its on-site hotel. It is an international Catholic organization called San Juan de Dios. The profits from the hotel help fund operations of the center. The group needed a few "models" to be in the brochure. We all agreed to arrive at 11 AM the next day.
Emily gave us her information and we were all set, and she seemed very relieved to have found some tourists to participate. We all agreed we loved volunteering, so this was a fun opportunity.
The next morning, we grabbed a taxi over to the facility which isn't far, but is certainly not in the middle of town. We mentioned Emily's name and the guard pointed us to the hotel lobby on the campus. We chatted for a while, while Camilla and Eliya did mock checking-in poses. Then it was our turn to pretend to have breakfast. It was hilarious, but they said they got what they needed.
They gave us a tour of the facility which is very modern and has rehab facilities for all ages. The facility takes care of 400 children with physical disabilities like cerebral palsy per day, and about 30 live on-site. We even got to meet a few of them during their lunch hour.
It was great to do something, no matter how silly or easy, that we know will help this place in the future.
The crew of college kids gave us chocolate bars as thank yous and asked us to meet them back at Norton's Pub at 9 to celebrate it being a "wrap."