After three of the most enthralling, rewarding and emotional weeks of my life – after being home, not having to religiously apply insect repellent morning noon and night has been a nice touch! I have recently returned from my three and a half week service project at the Rainbow Centre in Peru! What an amazing time I’ve had!
The Rainbow Centre offers unique help and therapy to those who need it – particularly those in isolated areas who may not have access to the help needed. Kiya Survivors staff do an amazing job teaching these children not only new skills and qualities to help them become more independent but also to be able to cope with day to day life with as little stress or physical pain as possible.
A typical day at the Rainbow centre starts at 9am with brain gym; an exclusive routine to help them become more aware of themselves and their surroundings before starting the playful and academic day. This periodic mind ‘workout’ consists of games and highly relies on using senses and exercising their bodies to ensure they perform to the best of their abilities and stay healthy. Not to mention being great fun for the children and the adults and a good time to get to know them better!
Once the children begin to separate into smaller groups such as Primaria and Physiotherapy myself and the fellow volunteers were able to help in the classrooms with more one-on-one interacting with the children and learned more about their conditions and disabilities and what we can do in our time there to help them.
In the mornings we worked and played with the children and in the afternoons we were busy with our project work! Our projects were to decorate the external parts of the Rainbow Centre such as painting the stage, a giant snakes and ladders board in the courtyard, re-painting the kitchen area and paining train tracks from classroom to classroom. It was hard work but felt amazing to see the finished result and how pleased and excited the children were!
Whilst we were in Peru, we also got the chance to visit two of Peru’s most famous landmarks, the first being Machu Picchu which was an amazing experience – and much bigger than I thought it would be! It was hard work on the way up but well worth the climb when we got there and had chance to have a look around. We also ventured to the Amazon and enjoyed a picturesque 5 hour boat ride down the Tambopata River until we arrived at our far-out accommodation. Apart from the spider bites and possum in our room at two in the morning, it was an amazing, memorable experience!
As well as the stunning scenery, breath-taking landscape and thoughtful locals-the food was not only one of the highlights of the trip, but also one of the concerns we had prior to getting there. Our meals were mostly cooked for us by Louisa who was the wonderful cook at the Rainbow Centre who did an incredible job at feeding all 20 of us with delicious food day after day! My favourite meal for the trip-besides sneaking off for a burger and chips in Machu Picchu and finally indulging into a hearty McDonald’s in Lima! It was Louisa’s pasta carbonara which was a huge hit with the girls, so much so we managed to convince her to cook up the marvellous creation again! I would definitely say Peruvian food is some of the most versatile and flavoursome food I’ve ever tasted!
The trip to Peru was an incredible once in a lifetime experience. I met some of the most amazing, interesting and devoted people out there and made so many new friends whilst out there! I gained memories I will cherish and never forget.
For anyone who has the chance to be included in any trip as amazing as the one I was offered – I would urge you to leap at the opportunity! Peru was an amazing country in itself but to be able to come home and look back on the work we did – is extremely rewarding and heart-warming.