My name is Diana López, and I am a Senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Biology, Hispanic Literature and Cultures and minoring in Neuroscience. I attended the first Hands on Peru Summer Session of 2017. I initially solely began working with the Hands to Care program and later took up working with the Hands to Teach program as well. As part of the Hands to Care program, I was given the opportunity to learn about a health care system very different from that of the United States as I rotated through Trujillo's hospitals. In the CESAPU clinic, I was able to educate individuals in underserved areas on matters of public health, basic sanitation, and on recognizing risk factors and symptoms of diseases common to their community, such as diabetes and anemia. I was also given the opportunity to take basic medical histories, to triage patients by taking their weight, height, blood pressure, etc., and to shadow numerous doctors, all of which provided me extremely valuable hands-on health care experience as a pre-medical student. As a member of the Hands to Teach program, I assisted in teaching English to Peruvian children from the preschool to the university level, and I tutored several children in the afternoons. One of the most impactful experiences I had with this program was tutoring a young boy named Jean Paul in math. He ran into the clinic every day eager to learn with his composition book and broken pencil in hand. At first I did not know where to begin. He could not add simple numbers, but was expected to add double digits. I tried several methods including counting my fingers, but I quickly ran out of fingers. However, when I drew tallies for him to count, it clicked for him. His pride and excitement were inspiring. I had taught him a different approach that gave him confidence in his abilities. Through this program, I have seen the impact that encouraging words and an investment of time can have on children’s growth. I have learned about resourcefulness and empathy, and the experience has fed my desire to guide and mentor others toward a path of success.
Additionally, the HOP staff were extremely supportive, took great care in instructing us on how to properly carry out our tasks, and continue to guide us as we embark upon our professional careers even from a distance. They are hard-working individuals who have a great passion for what they do, and their approach to improving conditions in Peru by providing quality health care and a valuable education to its people is both empowering and effective. For all of these reasons, I recommend Hands on Peru to any undergraduate student who seeks a cultural experience and a chance to make a significant impact abroad by using his or her unique talents. The program will benefit from individuals who bring a diverse skill set, and will prove consequential for any student seeking to pursue teaching or a career in any health care field. I can guarantee that the experience will be incredibly rewarding, eye-opening, and distinctive for every volunteer.Diana López,
Working for Hands on Peru was one of the most amazing opportunities I have ever had in my life. You are completely submerged in the local culture and really get to live day to day with the people of Peru. They do such a great job with all the volunteers offering a wide variety of experiences for volunteers and the HOP staff are some of the most welcoming and kind people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Anyone looking to step out of their boundaries, explore the world, and make an impact on the lives of others should consider working with HOP!Isaac McDaniel, Summer 2017
The 11 weeks that I spent in Peru this summer for HOP were truly amazing! This experience provided everything I could have wanted in a trip. From making friends with all sorts of unique and wonderful people, to dancing and fun Peruvian parties, to getting to do many different rotations at various hospitals/clinics (like watching awesome surgeries), to receiving evening medical classes, to working with beautiful children with cerebral palsy, to trying so much delicious food, to exploring Mancora’s beaches and the Amazon jungle and some historic parts of Peru, to getting to interact with patients in the highlands of Peru and helping to provide them with care at various medical campaigns, to living with a local Peruvian family, and to finding a welcoming Christian community, it’s easy to see how my time in Peru was well-spent and full of unforgettable memories! To anyone reading this, if you are interested in health care or are pre-med, and you want to see what health care delivery really looks like, and also want to learn about how it differs from health care in the United States, and practice your Spanish with amazingly kind and helpful doctors and nurses, I would 100% recommend this program! You will not get this type of experience shadowing a doctor in the States, and this was only half of what made the HOP experience great! In working alongside enthusiastic and kind individuals that want to serve and learn, it will be hard not to feel inspired and motivated, and hopefully—like me—you will leave having experienced both personal and professional growth!
Luisa Nilan, Harvard University
I could not have asked for a more rewarding experience! Through the Hands to Teach program I was able to oversee and teach four different elementary school classes. It was amazing to get to know all the kids, learn about their lives while also sharing my life and language with them. Additionally, having the opportunity to experience another country surrounded by amazing coordinators, families and volunteers made the trip even more special.
Thanks for everything,