Mayra lives in Lima and has been a Spanish-English translator for Solidarity in Action (SIA) trips since 2009. She is 18 years old but her care for others and interest in social issues make her seem mature beyond her years. She is studying communications at university and will be entering her second year in September. Her sights are set on a career where she can combine the communications degree she is working towards with social development and improve the lives of less fortunate communities. She hopes to spend some time studying in Canada before the end of her degree.
Mayra got involved with SIA through her father, Javier, Regional Coordinator for Peru. With a positive outlook and an interest in people, Mayra connects easily with participants on the SIA trips. She also got some of her friends involved as translators, such as Guillermo who was helping us out for much of this trip as well.
Translators are very important part of making the Solidarity in Action trips successful. They accompany our participants to volunteer placements and other activities to facilitate communication between our groups and the Peruvian people we are working with. After a recent discussion between members of the shantytown of Pacífico de Villa and Canadian trip participants, Guillermo described his translator role as one where he is ‘connecting the hearts together’. Translators spend most of their waking hours with Canadian participants during these trips and become important additions to our group. On top of translating, they also give us a better idea about life and culture of people in Peru and are always interested in learning more about trip participants and Canada.
For Mayra, working for SIA as a translator over the years has exposed her to many experiences that most of her friends have not had. She has worked at construction sites in shantytowns, orphanages, daycare centres, English Second Language (ESL) classes, medical clinics and more.
Although Mayra was interested in social development before starting her work with the SIA trips, she believes that her commitment to helping others through her actions has deepened considerably since she started working with SIA and getting a better understanding of the needs of those around her.