Volunteering at the Skate Ramp and a Local School

James travelled around Peru this summer (2013), which included volunteering at Otra Cosa Network. Here is a blog about his experience with us in Huanchaco:


This summer, the summer of 2013, I embarked on a trip from the UK to Peru. You may think why Peru? So did I. But, it turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The culture, the people, the colonial architecture, the dramatic landscapes and one of the most surprising aspects-the food which was simply scrumptious!
On the 4th August it was back off to Lima and then onto Trujillo which is on the North West of the country; a coastal place. It has been voted as the Capital of Culture of Peru. While we were there we visited Chan Chan a World Heritage Site, it is the largest pre Columbian city in Southern America – created in the Chimu era, and visited the Temples of the Sun and the Moon. The city of Trujillo was filled with colonial and religious architecture. While staying in Trujillo we stayed with a family who were lovely, it is a fantastic place and we got to see how ‘real Peruvians’ live.

Trujillo main square

Taxis in Trujillo

While here I was volunteering at Otra Cosa, this was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. Otra Cosa was based in Huanchaco, a coastal town about 10km from Trujillo. Huanchaco seemed like a much more ‘cool/hip’ place to be, which was dominated by many young people. It also had various surfing competitions (it is now a World Surfing heritage site) while I was there, which when the sun was shining were great to watch.

Otra Cosa gave me the opportunity to volunteer at both a Skate Ramp and at a school, these were both great opportunities. The Skate ramp in Cerrito de la Virgen (a shanty town just out of Huanchaco) gave me a personal look on how the children lived and what they were actually like, even though my Spanish was very basic I was able to communicate with them and made many bonds: playing volleyball with the girls, actively helping with the skateboarding and sitting down helping with mathematics and just general artwork. A mural was created when I was there, which I believe left the children with a sense of belonging and pride. The children were very quick to open up and accept you as one of them, which I thought would be the biggest struggle.

The skate ramp painting

During the second week I was based at a school called El Nino, I did this with a volunteer called Caroline, she seemed very interested in teaching and had made many plans so the children were able to learn. This was a very different school to one that I had been to before; it needed all the help possible due to the lack of facilities. Unfortunately, I could not have stayed longer, which disappointed me as I really feel as if I would have been able to make a change; but believe that even if I had made a small positive change then I’m glad I was there.

Huanchaco was one of the first times I had tasted Ceviche, this was raw fish that had been marinated in citrus with onions and corn, this was very delicious and I am glad that I tasted it in the Birthplace of Ceviche. Maybe my fish was caught on some of the old fishing boats called ‘Totoras’ which are still in use today.I was very sad to leave the people in Trujillo as I met some great people from all across the world.”

Huanchaco beach and famous fisher boats called Cabillitos de Totora

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