Volunteer in Peru for Your Next Vacation

Jimmy Tug-o-war PeruAll of the ECP stories are from my unforgettable time spent volunteering in Pisco, Peru with the organization Burners Without Borders. I received an e-mail from one of the main organizers updating us past volunteers on Pisco.  If you’re looking for future vacation ideas, I can tell you the 6 weeks I spent volunteering in Peru were 6 weeks that changed my life significantly.

Below is the message from our organizer, Jimmy and the accompanying letter from Harold, the new Director of Pisco Sin Fronteras. Harold is a local tour guide turned community volunteer after the earthquake of 2007. He’s an amazing person not afraid to give completely of himself for the benefit of others.

Hello Pisco Volunteers,

Burners without Borders is off to a great start in 2009. We are confident our impact this year will surpass the amazing accomplishments of 2008.

With all the wonderful accomplishments of last year, the formation of Pisco Sin Fronteras (PSF) is allowing volunteerism to continue in Pisco.  One of the largest voids seen in disaster assistance is local long-term reconstruction assistance.  PSF was formed from our energy and our efforts.  Let’s show our support and keep that Burner energy alive in Pisco!

Harold and the PSF crew have been busy, Harold’s written a letter that we have to pass along.  Efforts like this just prove this community is unstoppable.

Dear friend,

On the 15th of August, 2007, people in Pisco, Peru lived the worst experience in their lives, a massive earthquake, 8.4 occurred and destroyed 80% of the city, causing 600 deaths, leaving thousands of people without a home, as well destroying schools and leaving most of the kids without a place to study and keep developing physically and intellectually.

The night following the earthquake undoubtedly changed my life.  My brothers and I spent hours helping people get out of their homes many times having to remove kilos of rubble trapping them inside.  During this long and terrifying night I knew my life would be different, I just didn’t know how.

Then I met Mark from Hands On.  I translated for him and watched as many international volunteers came from all over the world.  I became more and more involved over the next 12 months.  When Burners took over I found myself leading projects.  Then in August when Burners were planning on leaving, I knew there were so many people still needing help in my community.  So me and a couple of friends decided to start our own organization.

Peruvian FamilyPisco sin Fronteras, Our organization was created on August 2008, during the last 5 months, we’ve been working in a similar way to Burners and Hands On.  We are welcoming international volunteers and locals. So far almost 100 volunteers have joined our efforts. We are providing sustainable solutions through volunteer efforts focusing on housing and education.  By having Peruvian leadership we have no pull out date and hope to provide support throughout the hard times ahead of my community.

We started out by helping individual families rebuild their homes or get into modules.  Now our organization is building our first school, a kinder garden school called “Virgencita de Fatima” which will be the 2nd home for around 30 kids. We started clearing the rubble and now we are finishing some of the walls, having volunteers from all over the world working every single day on this project.

This has become our largest project since our organization started.

All of us are really excited for this school and the future.  As the Director of Pisco Sin Fronteras and your friend, I would like to invite everyone to come back and join us in Pisco.  If you can’t make it back please check out our website www.piscosinfronteras.org.  We are always in need of support just see how you can “get involved”. Remember a little goes a long way in Pisco. Our PayPal link is set up and any help is greatly appreciated.  Thanks to all of you who want to be a part of this amazing project and help us to help those in need in this, my community, Pisco.

Sincerely,

Harold Zevallos Salas
Director
Pisco Sin Fronteras