Today was a day full of excitement because it was all about coming to an end of an experience. It is never an end to a feeling or motivation because these things can be carried on to your home with you!

That is the one thing we focused on during our late discussion with the group. Some of them wondered how they would possibly describe their experiences this week with their friends and family back home without missing the true essence of it.

Today, the western group had a grand conference for adults, and teachers from the physical education project. I got to see the aftermath of the amount of chairs left behind that it was truly amazing. I also got a gist of the event from the way they spoke about it at dinner. It was truly going home (going to Cusco) with a big bang!

As for Peru A group, we all went to the community called Hijos de 28 after the conference. This was the event that all the parents of the Youth in Action kids were invited to. It was a very successful event as more than 80 people attended. The health group including Nicole, Shavonne, Jasmine, Sydney and myself did a presentation for all the community adults about proper hand washing techniques and the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. Later on they expressed that they really appreciated our efforts and wanted to ask us questions. We all had hygiene packages for them.

The chaotic but beautiful part of this experience was the hand washing station we implemented for the Youth in Action program. After the rest of the group finished doing activities with the children, they came in to wash their hands. It was a lot of children with clean hands.

The event, the wonderful dinner, and the discussions all led to a super awesome day that no one will forget. Tomorrow is an exciting day for both groups as Western is flying to Cusco and Peru A is having a free day to explore Lima a bit more.

Group Peru A western

Mansi Parasher


Travel advice from an amateur

1. Pre-departure meditation.

It is really important to do some mental work before travelling. In my opinion, you should never have pre conceived notions about a place (or try not to have any). I never try to have expectations. WHY? Because you’re already setting your mind up for comparison. If you go thinking “oh it is going to be like this”… and its not what you thought, your mind will be left battling the reality. What I mean by that is…. you won’t get to experience THAT MOMENT for what it is. There is a reason “surprises” are a positive thing. They come out to no where, we see them for what they are when it happens. Therefore resulting in a happier experience and one that is PURE. So, in less confusing english, I am saying….DROP THE EXPECTATIONS and TAKE IT ALLLLLLLL IN. The good and the bad. 🙂

2. Open dat mind!

It is probably making some people cringe as I wrote “dat” instead of “that”. Loosen up a little! It is REALLY important to stay open minded when in a different environment. YES this doesn’t look like home, YES these people are strangers, YES you want your normal stomach activities back. But if you spend more time thinking about what you miss about home and less time about what is new out there, you’re going to set yourself up for a bad time. New experiences bring about new opportunities! Treat every new day as a new opportunity and LEARN from it. If something goes wrong, treat is as something that is PART of the experience. I think bad things just add a little taste to the travels ;). All in all, you never heard a good story out of a perfect, by the book, experience. Things don’t always go as planned, people don’t always act as you thought they would, SO WHAT? The more your open up your mind , the more room you have to love everything around you.

3. Make a connection!

This one is kind of hopeful. Once again you’re reading this from a person who’s only traveled to a handful of countries and is pretending to give travel advice. But this one makes sense to me! Something that adds to each trip, each experience is the QUALITY of the experience. Whether you’re travelling for pleasure or work, make a connection that will constantly make you smile about the memories you have of that place. Whether it is a person you can relate to, a spot that made you feel alive or even an object that you found there that made the experience that much BETTER. “Success is when you think back to your memories and they make you smile”. A successful trip is when I leave behind a piece of my heart with someone or something that I know will keep it safe. 🙂

4. La deeeee daaaaa moments

WRITE THEM DOWN.  I cannot stress enough how amazing it is to refer back to something in the future and be able to read how you felt at that moment. Yes, it is nice to look at pictures, and trust your memory to remember how happy you were. But it is a whole new level of reminiscing when you can open up a journal and be like “Omg, i totally forgot thats how i felt that day.” I know writing is something you might have NEVER done before, but there is a first time for everything. During a new experience, you need at least 15-20 minutes (longer the better) per day to reflect on your amazing accomplishments that day. These special moments can stay with you forever and remind you that your happiness doesn’t have to stay behind in that country, you can take it home with you, and feel that way everyday!

Maybe these are things you already knew! And maybe these are things you need to think about in the future. I just wanted to share my two cents on how I perceive new experiences!

Plan a new adventure.

Speaking of an adventure… Come out to our open house on Feb 2nd/2014 at 1pm to our burlington office! Check out upcoming events at http://www.solidarityinaction.ca

-Mansi Parasher

Paulina’s Journey




Paulina is a sweet individual that I met in Peru during the summer in the community. She is from Poland and was working alongside SIA and Youth in action! This is her input from her experience in Pacifico.

How did you come to know about SIA and our work in Pacifico de villa?

I got to know obout SIA in Pacifico from Jacek Klisowki. I was working in the house for street children named Ayllu Situwa which he set up and has been running for more than 8 years. I was doing my volunteer service ( I was send by Papaya Foundation from Poland, and I was implementing the project funded by Ministry of Forein Affairs in Poland – program named Polish help) there and he told me about Larry and the activities for children which you organize. I really wanted to help and was interested in the work which you do.


 What was your first impression of Pacifico and Youth in Action program/the kids?

I was amazed by the energy and happiness of the children. It was surprising that in this some kind of desert place there were so many children and that they are so willing to do all things which volunteers proposed them. That they get so deep into all activities, always with big smiles on their faces, try to do it perfectly…

What were your expectations or goal that you wanted to achieve while working with Daniel?

First of all I wanted to share with children and Daniel my experience in working with creativity. In Poland I work in developing creativity center named Kangur – cangaroo:) I wanted to share what I know and be with those children, help them with homeworks, spend time just be. I also wanted to get to know something from Daniel, he is very wise, has great contact with children. He is amaizing. I am very happy that I could work with him.

What were some of the challenges you faced while working with Daniel and youth in action?

The biggest challange was when they told us that we can not use local communal anymore:( We had to organize it outside and that it still was very cold…but all the rest was a great pleasure.

What kind of activities were you able to do with the kids?

We did a lot of art activities. Also connected with art and cultures. We were talking about Egyptian culture, a little bit about the India, we got to know some arabic letters, listening to polish legends. We did mandalas from spices, builded animals, were making a lot of ideas how we could use something or into what we could transform simple things. Painting, drawing, constructing. We also used the parachute to do some moving activities, played football. It was a good time. I hope it will serve them or even made them feel happy…


Would you come back?

I hope so…The true is that I would love to. The problem is the distance. Peru is really far from Poland but close to my heart so I hope it will help. I would also love to spend more time, next time in guarderia. I love little kids and they need a lot of care. We will see.

What is one key message that you are taking back to Poland with you?

The key message which I brought from pacifico and casa Ayllu Situwa, after those three months which I spent working with kids is that you should never judge children but love and give a lot of attention and care. They are so innocent. And the other is that you should smile a lot because then you make others smile.

Placements in Pacifico De Villa

Today I attended the placements that were located in Pacifico De Villa. The placements that were offered to participants in the Pacifico De Villa were construction, teaching at the kindergarten called Pronoei and working with the Youth in Action after school English program. The placements all came with their own challenges but the participants were able to overcome most of them with a smile on their face. One of the challenges that Melissa Thompson had to overcome was that at her placement in Pronoei,”[she] was in the 3 years old class and [she] found that you really need to have patience because not only is their a language barrier but also they have very short attention spans.” In the construction placement it was amazing how quickly and efficiently the Peruvian men worked on the demolition of the washroom. Brad Hertog stated, “The amount of work that the Peruvians accomplished in such a short period of time was amazing and the fact that they accomplished it without the help of power tools is unbelievable.” It was a great first day of placements that was not challenges but it looked like participants learned a lot. The participants are currently eagerly preparing for their second day of placements.

Alex Carson

Teaching at Pronoie this morning.
Teaching at Pronoie this morning.
The students at Pronoei were marched out into the front foyer to sing the Peruvian National Anthem.
The students at Pronoei were marched out into the front foyer to sing the Peruvian National Anthem.
The participants are taking a quick break before going back to the demolition of the washroom.
The participants are taking a quick break. The area in the middle of them is where the washroom stood this morning.
During the after school program the children created Mother's Day cards.
During the after school program the children created Mother’s Day cards.

Addressing health issues and speaking with the executive…-Part 2

…Following a busy week, we had a very stimulating weekend. The weekend began with an evening meeting with newly elected president Hernan Caceres and Dr. Rocky Yanqui, the head doctor at the Pacifico de Villa Health Post. We met as a group of individuals to discuss the sewage and the poor lack of water. The weekend included working with the health promoters, on the initial phase of the “Hands for Hygiene Project”. We concluded the weekend by introducing SIA to the wider community during Hernan Caceres’ inaugural meeting with the population of Pacifico de Villa.

Photos from April 27th weekend.

L Shuttleworth