The Spirit of Volunteerism

Notes from Jorge

Washington DC

This is my first time in United States, and I think it was a wonderful idea to start in DC, all activities were interesting and well organized, however I would like to mention Mr. Akram´s presentation, for me, he was great, it was very illustrative to learn about federalism, in one hour he was able to make us understand the US system of government and the decision making process. He also talked about why American people do volunteering. Mr. Akram has a particular way to explain things and no matter how long he will talk it is always interesting and inspiring.

During this week we also had a meeting with the Peace Corps Headquarters, in my particular case I used to work for the Peace Corps Peru and there was always this curiosity to visit the PC in Washington DC where important decisions are made.

The volunteer activity that we did with Washington Parks was a perfect combination between the panels we had and the field work, I planted with other three members of the group 4 trees that will contribute to the big work that this organization is developing.

I am well motivated to start a volunteer program in Peru for local people; I have learned that it is possible; the most difficult step is to start. Thank you Washington DC team…

Seattle

Beautiful city, the climate is very similar to my city Cusco in Peru, in this city there are three things I would like to mention, one of them is related to the concept of “Service Learning”, something new for me and very important if we are managing a volunteer program. The second aspect is related to the volunteer activity because it was very well organized and with a clear goal about what they want to achieve with the project.

The third aspect is related to the visit that we did to the Boeing Company. We were informed about the projects that the company supports in different parts of the world and how their workers have a volunteer program to help to communities in other countries. I was very thankful to the company because they are looking for the community response and the impact of the projects they have developed.

I had the opportunity to be a Panelist at the Washington University to talk about my experience with Peace Corps, I would like to say thank you very much for inviting me to be part of this panel, it was a great moment to share my experience with potential volunteers who are planning to get involve with the Peace Corps.    

I had lunch in the Space Needle, expensive but delicious…

San Antonio

There are a couple of things I would like to mention about my experience in San Antonio, but first of all, thank you very much for the extraordinary reception at the airport, it was wonderful to see the girls scouts waiting for us with beautiful letters and posters, this is something we will keep in our hears for ever… About the program, we are very happy because I think we got the best guides and trainers, everything was perfect and our ELO Jennifer was great, thank you very much Jennifer, we won´t never forget you.

In San Antonio I had the opportunity to stay with a local family, in this aspect Xandra and James were fantastic, thank you very much for making me feel part of your family, I enjoyed the visit to Flores Ville and meeting Xandra´s family was wonderful, I felt like at home.

San Antonio is a place where many people speaks Spanish because of the big Mexican influence, so, for instants I thought I was in my country, Spanish everywhere, and very surprising to know that the number of volunteers who get involved in the Peace Corps is the biggest in the USA.

Finally I would like to mention the meeting with Mr. Benini, he was just extraordinary, I think for all of us in the group he produced a special effect, like the beginning of something new in our lives. Thanks for the opportunity.  

I have in my mind many ideas to apply in my country; almost in the end of the program I think this has been the experience of my life, thank you very much.

 - Jorge (Peru)

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