Making bonds

Peruvian shoes
Lynn, Urooj, Mansi, Eva Modelling their Peruvian shoes
Youth in Action (Jugraj)

It is so great to see everyone getting along and connecting on a different level. We have laughs during breakfast when we start the day together and laughs during dinner when our day is coming to an end. But its not just with each other that we are creating these bonds. It is with the people we are working with.

Urooj YIA
Urooj in YIA

I  noticed the little things Roxanne (My trip leader partner) does when acknowledging other people and making their day that much better. Around the retreat house we have many people come from different parts of Peru and youth groups come from Lima. Roxanne makes an effort to make these connections with the locals who she sees walking around or even the staff that works there.

I notice the hugs Urooj gives out to our volunteers at the end of the night before bed just to wish them a happy and comfortable sleep. I see the passion she feels towards the teenagers she gets to work with on a daily. She shared with me how happy it made her when all the activities they had planned went so smoothly and the children were starting to be more sociable with each other. These are real connections being made with real people.

Group shot at the park

The bonds we make within a week here stay with us for a very long time especially because you’re connecting on a level that we don’t tend to on a daily basis back home. We have water cooler conversations about the weather with each other and call that interaction. Do we ever talk about our deepest fears, or what inspires us, or who we look up to, or our weaknesses and strengths?  These types of conversations are happening every single day and in the words of our participant “It is making me really really really happy.”

The group took a nice evening out at the “Parke de las aguas” and got to see a water laser which had a mix of peruvian music and amazing entertainment. It was a nice change to go out on a cultural exertion after dinner and enjoy some more quality time together.


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-Mansi Parasher



Drive in the morning

Today, the volunteers got the chance to officially emerge with the children during their placements. The day began nice and early at 6:45 AM. It takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes to get to our placements depending on the traffic. We took the ocean side view today on our drive over to the district of Chorrillos. The volunteers seemed to really enjoy the drive, even though it was early, there was energy laughter and excitement.

Day care
Marcela, Lynn, Steph, Julia (left to right)

Lynn and Stephanie have been spending their time at the Day care in Pacifico de Villa. Working with children can be exhausting especially if you’re going it ALL DAY. Sure enough, Lynn and Steph were tired by the end of the day but with a huge smile on their face. When asked about their day, Lynn said she was so happy because she got to read to the children today. They had 3 children at the day care today and had an amazing day just bonding and playing with them. These activities included anything from going to the playground to making music to reading books.

View from classroom window at Tupac Amaru II

IMG_1643Our ESL and Hands for Hygiene groups spend some time at Tupac Amaru II school for the first time thisweek. There were many observations made today with the group of children the volunteers worked with. Bottom line was that the children here do not have the same opportunities that children back home have. Therefore, they don’t built up their social skills and confidence until a very late age. Children from 14 years old and younger get to experience leadership opportunities through extra curricular and the children at Tupac seem to lack those opportunities. It is so important to give them the platform to shine and share their opinions. And that is exactly what the Hands for Hygiene is doing in their Club de Salud group.

During ESL, Eva (a volunteer) got to meet all the children who are devoting their vacation time to learn English and be involved in these extra curricular activities. They made family trees, jumped rope, made sentences, and had fun learning new vocabulary and games they can take home with them. It was a great introduction day to get their new teacher Eva a little better. We hope the children come tomorrow with even more excitement and interest.

It makes us all feel very privileged to be here and spend this time with individuals who inspire us.

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-Mansi Parasher


Today, was education. Today, I learned about someones life and how to save a life.

We went to Tupac Amaru II school for our ESL classes but prior to that we had a meeting with a lovely individual who was willing to tell us about the history of the IMG_1062place we call our precious little garden of education. It was awesome to hear about the developments within the community but the hardships people faced to get where they are today are the rips in the timeline that make it imperfect in a beautiful way.

Imagine for a second, leaving your lovely home, moving far away to a place with no attraction, just wooden houses and sand…lots of sand and rocks. 40 years later, as she reminisced about her life, she shared with joy all that she has seen. I enjoyed the perk in her voice when she spoke about Tupac, a voice with pride. A community that fought for their rights to have electricity, water and sewage.

Imagine for a second, having to walk 20 blocks to go get water for things like laundry, and everyday use. Her children helped her through this process and well, it was normal for them. As she spoke about the issue of water, she got emotional explaining “it reminds me of a very sad time.” Tupac Amaru II is in a much better place right now, and with the help of people like this woman, it will only get better.


Lilliana and Julia are the two amazing women who work day and night to make sure the children at their day care are happy and healthy. Sometimes keeping people healthy is a tough job in case of emergencies. James Nyugen, an extended volunteer and a paramedic by profession gave them a 3 hour course on different situations they might face while with children or with people in general.

They went over scenarios where someone might be choking on their food, what to do if the person is too tall, too short, in a wheelchair, or is too big. They even went on what to do if a person has stopped breathing after choking!IMG_1077

James did an excellent job at explaining every single detail to these ladies, and they were so interested in learning that they tried these procedures with each other!IMG_1075        Everyone should know the basics on saving lives because you never know when you might end up in a situation where you are the only one to give someone a second chance.

Teaching Julia how to properly handle a choking baby

Another scenario they practiced was if the baby is choking, which can be really difficult and hard to handle. It was so amazing to see James handle everything with such care and precision. Julia and Lilliana asked many questions because in their line of work they’ve dealt with everything from fevers, falling and crying babies. Luckily they have never had a situation until today where the child had to be rushed to the hospital. But none the less, they left the office, way more educated on this subject than they came in with.

Don’t you just love learning!?

I will post a video on the entire workshop soon because our fellow viewers, and SIA believers, also can benefit from this information.

-Mansi Parasher



Taking initiative to help someone walk

This past month I learned a lot about taking initiative and how much it can hinder your situation if you DON’T. Sometimes it can be confusing as to when you can step up and speak out. But if you never try then how will you know?

Peru B group being aware that we have guests in our picture!

Being a leader doesn’t mean you always have to speak up and give orders. Initiative can be mental as well. It is highly important to think about what you’re going to be doing next. Only then, you can have a good judgement of what is going on and when you need to step up. Doesn’t matter what kind of story you have in life; whether you are a student, a wanderer, a full time parent, working a full time job, a professional or a world traveller. You’ll always come across situations where you might be confused about whether to step in or step back. The best advice I can share from my experiences is to be VERY aware. Know everything that is going on and think beyond your own self. That sounds a bit difficult but its as easy as any other practice in life. If you constantly practice thinking beyond yourself, you’ll reach a state of awareness that you’ve never achieved before.

“we wear a bikini in the summer”

During our ESL program at Tupac yesterday, we had around 15 eager students who were excited to come learn english. We continued our lessons on seasons in Canada and taught about Summer! We spoke about the beach, the clothing you wear and the activities you do during summer. It came time to explain what a life guard was, the children weren’t understanding the picture with the word on it so we had to stage a drowning scene with someone coming to save me. In that moment, the unplanned saving my life scene was successful because the other teacher (Birdie) came to my rescuIMG_2762e pretending to be a life guard. Moments like that make you appreciate the initiatives that others take because they are aware of everything that is going on. And also it was just funny…

ESL students with Lauren Dunlop

“If you want to make a change in the world, start by making your bed.”  This quote might seem a bit strange but it makes so much sense to me. Organize your thoughts, your mind, know where you’re going and know where you’ve been before. You will be aware, make meaningful steps, take initiative and be a better version of yourself!

-Mansi Parasher



Welcome SIA!

Today the Peru A group went to the community called Hijos de 28! It was a type of “WE are SIA” event. The community members got to come out to the community centre and meet each volunteer from Canada. They had a question and answer round and the innocent questions that were asked made everyone laugh together. “What do you Canadians eat?” … “uhhhh pancakes and maple syrup”.




But over all, the volunteers had an amazing time connecting with the parents who signed up their children for the Youth in Action program today, and playing games with the children.



The Western group visited an NGO called Solidaritas that wants the help from our volunteers to create a bilingual program for a local public school. They came home with their minds full of new knowledge, exciting plans and an adventurous attitude. Both the groups got together for a lovely meal and later played some games before you could get serious about project planning for tomorrow.

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Overall, I think it was a very powerful day for all of us, because we made connections with a new community that wants to know more about us! Wants to know more about what we will be doing in the next week that will impact for us and the community.

Other than that, I offer the educators, the role models, the teachers, the friends, and the volunteers all a big high five for the motivation that they have brought into SIA this week. It is absolutely amazing.

Hope to make a video about the adventures mid week ! Stay tuned 🙂


-Mansi Parasher