To feel at home in a foreign country is a feeling that most people have never had the opportunity to experience. I have just returned to the United States after living with my loving, Peruvian family in Trujillo, Peru for a month as a volunteer with Hands on Peru (HOP). I was lucky enough to witness the opening of El Centro Voluntariado En Salud Publica (CESAPU), the first clinic of its kind in Peru, and to spend the next month volunteering with amazing and driven people. Along with six other volunteers, various doctors, and some coordinators and administrators, we worked every day to make the clinic’s campaigns successful, and they were! Hundreds of people were registered with the clinic by the third week, and the trust between the community and the clinic had grown so immensely that the same people were returning every day to visit and receive care! During my time in Peru I gained an entire Peruvian family, made connections with the community that will last a lifetime, swam with sea turtles bigger than myself, watched a baby come into this world by C-Section, learned how to perform a pap smear, and most importantly, I inherited a drive to stay involved with HOP and the community that it serves. If you want to be a part of something that changes several lives in addition to your own for the better, consider joining the HOP family.
Grace Gunter, (December 2016 - January 2017)