Being a part of HOP was undoubtedly the most valuable experience I have had thus far as I move forward with my education and journey on the pre-med track. To be able to fully immerse myself in a culture and appreciate the healthcare system through the lens of public health was a truly incredible opportunity. Simply interacting with the community was by far my favorite part of the trip. I was humbled by their appreciation for the little things in life--no matter the circumstances or environment in which they lived, they were kind, selfless, and thankful for everything they did have. Getting to know and interact with the children was the moment I most looked forward to every day, and having to leave them and the organization at the end of the trip was way harder than I ever could have imagined.
The medical experiences that I had during the trip were also invaluable, and I know they will continue to help me both now and as a healthcare professional in the future. Not only were they opportunities to learn and grow as a pre-med student, but they also proved to me that I am excited to be in the medical field in the future. There are two specific experiences I had while in Peru that have truly resonated with me. First, I was able to see a live birth, which was absolutely incredible. Being able to witness a new life starting and learning exactly what was happening was interesting, exciting, and beautiful, and it left me feeling inspired. The other experience that I truly learned from is when we went to the highlands for a campaign. That day, I had the responsibility of doing hemoglobin tests on all of the children. Seeing how many of them were anemic was really difficult, but to be able to help them, even in the smallest of ways, is a feeling I still haven't forgotten. At the end, I was able to explain to a woman and her two sons what being anemic even meant. I explained everything from what hemoglobin is to how oxygen has to travel through the blood and brain, which pushed me out of my comfort zone both linguistically and medically. I left feeling helpless because the situation felt too big to fix, but also proud that I could help even one family. They were grateful for the few moments I spent with them, and while they may not remember me, I know that that moment is something I will never forget.Sam Catalano, SS1 2019
In August of 2019, I had the privilege of participating in the Dental Hygiene campaign with Hands on Peru. The process was very easy from start to finish. Kayce organized and planned every detail for months before we landed in Peru. Once we arrived in Peru, we were assigned to host families. My host mom was so amazing and made us feel at home, even when we were not feeling so great she made tea or whatever was needed to make sure we were taken care of. The group of hygienists that stayed at my same home, were amazing. We created a very special bond and it truly felt like a family. The most amazing experience about the trip was getting out to the low income schools and serving and helping the kids. They were so thankful and gave me so much love that is hard to put into words. If you have been wanting to go on a mission trip to volunteer your time and talents, I would suggest checking Hands on Peru out. We also had a few hours free and got to experience the culture and food of beautiful Peru. I had a beautiful experience and I look forward to doing it again sometime soon.Jessica Godreau, DH Trip August 2019
I had a wonderful experience as a volunteer for Hands on Peru! The staff members were extremely supportive, energetic, and compassionate. The community was brimming with liveliness and love and you can feel this once you step into CESAPU and interact with the people. The free-spirited kiddos brightened up my day and I was able to learn so much from the programs we participated in, the doctors, staff members, and everyone else in the community! There was constant engagement between the people within the community from the kids participating in team-building and educational activities to the mothers knitting stylish and fun products to eating food and learning about its nutritional benefits (& so much more!). There is so much happening, ranging from smaller to larger scale projects and it is bringing pure happiness to the people. I also LOVED my host family and I am sure that all the other host families are just as sweet and welcoming. It was a beautiful and humbling experience that I think everyone should have if they are able to! I definitely want to come back one day if I can.
I always reminisce on my experience with Hands on Peru and I often use it to fuel myself to get through the home-stretch and keep working towards my goals of becoming a Neonatal Pediatrician. Along my career, I want to open my own nonprofit organization in Vietnam. A part of me has always known that I wanted to do something for the struggling communities in Vietnam, but I never knew what I could do or how I could do it. Hands on Peru showed me that those aspirations could become a reality. It was beautiful to see how you and your team affected the community and I would love nothing more than to give that to similar communities in Vietnam.Jenni Truong, Spring Break 2019
I loved the community! I enjoyed the fact that Trujillo wasn't difficult to navigate and it helped teach the volunteers independence! I developed relationships with the kids and parents who came into the clinic and I hope I had an impact on them as they did me. The staff were super friendly and liked to have fun! I will come back to Trujillo and this experience has a special place in my heart!!Rebecca Parsons,