Date: 2010, 2013 and 2015.
In summer 2015 I returned to Makikita for the third time, which I think speaks volumes about how wonderful the organisation is! Each time I have been welcomed by Juliana and her family with open arms, you feel very well cared for, they’re accommodating to the type of volunteering you’d like to do, and they make sure that you’re feeling okay and enjoying your stay in Huancayo. Just as wonderful are the kids – this time I volunteered in an after-school centre for children who work in a local market, where they come to play games and finish homework. Each child I was privileged to meet is incredible – they’re so affectionate and respectful, calling “Miss!” before coming for a hug. Liliana who runs the centre I was in genuinely cares for each of the children in her care, she is a brilliant mentor and I felt so joyful every afternoon as I made my way to the school, looking forward to another fun afternoon with such wonderful people. Whether you’re helping a twelve year old with maths homework, or building a toy house with seven year old girls, or talking with a fourteen year old about university options, you really can see that you’re making a difference in these kids’ lives. In the mornings I volunteered in a small health outpost in the psychology department, carrying out mental health screening questionnaires and going on a home visit to a young teen, which gave me a great opportunity as a psychology graduate to observe and talk directly with patients. Listening to people, particularly mothers, tell their painful stories was a privileged position to be in, and interacting directly with patients definitely helped me to develop as a professional. Huancayo itself is a beautiful city, waking up and seeing the mountains against the clear blue sky was such a treat every morning. I felt completely safe wandering about the city, and the local cuisine is delicious! There are plenty of places to visit during the weekends just outside of Huancayo with the other volunteers – one day we went to a representation of an Incan ceremony, another time we went on an adventure trek in a local rainforest, and another day to a typical artesans’ market. I cannot recommend Makikita enough – each time I’ve dreaded having to leave the kids and my host families behind, and eagerly count down the days until I can next go back! Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or want to hear more!