Natalie Klein

Natalie Klein

I am 17 years old, living in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I will be in Peru from July 4th to August 7th 2015 working in the childcare program.

 Permalink  Posted by Natalie Klein at 1:26 pm  Peru  Comments Off on
Jul 262015

It was a very emotional goodbye to the children I have grown so close with at the orphanage on Friday. I know I have done all that I can to improve their lives but I seem to find myself wanting to stay longer.  I highly encourage anyone who at all feels they need a break from reality to go an spend some time volunteering. I have had an amazing three weeks working with the children, I wish the time wouldn’t have gone by so fast.

Friday night I took an overnight bus to the city of Puno.  Saturday morning I got on a boat and went to see the famous floating islands on lake titicaca. It was an amazing experience learning how these people live on these small floating islands for their entire life.  We then went to a large island where I met a family that I would spend the night with.  I really enjoyed playing with the children there and teaching them some words in english. We got to climb to the highest point of the island, which is on the highest navigable lake in the world, and watch the sunset. That is a moment I will never forget.  The absolute breath taking view was incredible.

After being woken up by the sound of donkeys and sheep outside my window, I got on another boat to visit another island. We hiked and had lunch their, before returning to the city of Puno.

Tomorrow morning at 9am I am moving onto my second volunteer project which is located in the Amazon jungle. I will be there for one week, working and exploring the jungle. I have no idea what to expect but I am extremely excited for this new experience.

Start of week three

 Posted by Natalie Klein at 9:46 am  Peru  Comments Off on Start of week three
Jul 202015

Although I am most definitely building much better relationships with the kids I am working with, I am still not able to take a ton of pictures of the activities we do.  I was able to get a few while I was with them this morning.  In one of the pictures you can see me with a little girl, her name is Yessica, she cannot talk but can understand a small amount of words if said very slowly.  Everyday when I go to the orphanage Yessica and I get to sneak away from the group and go up to the rooftop and sit in the tent that you can see in the picture.  In this tent we have four different activities that she can do for as long as she pleases, and many bright colored scarves and ribbons that she can touch and play with.  Although she cannot communicate it to me, I really feel that having some alone time without a bunch of other kids around really helps her stay happy and healthy.  This tent was a past volunteers idea and I feel it is truly a great thing.

Often the kids get to help prepare their dinners, which is some of their favorite activities.  This is a time where the kids can feel that they are being very helpful, while also having fun.  Today we prepared carrots, potatoes, and peas.  Some of the kids simply separate and sort the vegetables, while other kids get to peal or even chop them.  It is a day long process, but the room is filled with laughter and happiness.

Cusco is a city with so much interesting history in and surrounding it.  This weekend I took a full day tour of the Sacred Valley which allowed me to learn a ton while also seeing some beautiful sights.  Next week I move to the Jungle where there is no electricity, and I will be volunteering there to help conserve the jungle.

I cannot believe how fast the time is going, everyday I wake up and remind myself to take everything in slowly, and to make the most of every second.

Week two

 Posted by Natalie Klein at 12:43 pm  Peru  Comments Off on Week two
Jul 152015

I don’t really know where to start with explaining my past few days.  I am beginning to get closer relationships with the children I am working with which is an amazing feeling.  When I walk through the door I am greeted with excited yells and many many hugs.  I often wish I could do more for the organization, because it truly is an amazing one.  These kids are so lucky that they were placed in this home, although they have severe disabilities they are given three meals a day, kept clean, and always kept occupied.  On top of that, volunteers and the live-in moms constantly provide the love and attention that any child needs.

While here I have met people from all over the world and talked to some of them about their projects, they include: orphanages, after school centers, rehab centers, women’s shelters, pre-schools, working in the prison, and dog shelters.  Every volunteer here is doing something to try and make Peru a better place to live because it really is an amazing place.  It is very interesting to hear everyones stories about their projects, and to talk about how different our lives are.

I was able to get out and do some very fun things this past weekend.  On Saturday I went whitewater rafting and ziplining which was an amazing experience.  Going down the river through the Peruvian mountians was one of the coolest things I have ever done.  On Sunday I went to four different Inca sacred sites and walked around and took in more history about the city.

I am really enjoying my time here, meeting people, seeing a whole new culture, and doing what I can to improve the lives of the 21 amazing children I get to work with everyday.

Week one: Day four

 Posted by Natalie Klein at 4:17 pm  Peru  Comments Off on Week one: Day four
Jul 082015

I finally went to my placement two days ago and it as the most overwhelming day of my entire life.  My work placement is an orphanage home to 20 children between the ages of 5 and 18.  I almost forgot to add that these kids have extremely severe disabilities, these disabilities are the main reason that they are orphans.  Often Peruvian parents realize they have a child with a disability and they decide it is too much to handle and pay for so they leave their child behind.  That is where the program I am working for steps in.  There are five “mothers” who are Peruvian ladies who rotate and live at the home with the children and feed, care for, clean, and love all of the children as if they were their own.

So far I have just been getting the hang of things and watching how the kids work and what their routines are.  Today I helped prepare lunch, fed a couple of children who cannot feed themselves, then assisted in brushing all of the childrens teeth.  Later in the day we made jewellery with a few of the older girls who are able while the other kids played or colored.  I am able to work well without speaking Spanish because most of the children wither cannot hear or speak or they only know a few words in which case I am able to understand what they are trying to tell me.  This placement is going to be a very stressful and draining time but I can already tell that my four weeks of love and compassion that I can provide to the children will make a very big difference.

On the touristy side of things, yesterday I took traditional Salsa dancing lessons then went out for dinner with 9 other volunteers, it is very interesting to talk to other people around my age with the same intentions, who are from all over the world.  Today after my Spanish class I went to the Cristo Blanco statue which allowed me to see all of Cusco from a birds eye view.  It was an amazing last two days and I can’t wait to get back into it tomorrow!!

Week one: day two

 Posted by Natalie Klein at 3:14 pm  Peru  Comments Off on Week one: day two
Jul 062015

Walking around with absolutely no plan has never been something I am very good at.  I love plans, times, and set destinations.  But today I woke up bright and early, and walked a half hour to my orientation which did not take very long and was not as informative as I had hoped.  I then had from 8am to when the sun went down to aimlessly explore the city! Luckily I have a roommate who had most of the day free too, and we quickly met other girls and started walking!  From colorful markets, to strange roads, to congested areas with people trying to sell you stuff in spanish Cusco is a very lively city.  I highly enjoyed the markets although the locals quickly catch on that I know very little Spanish and try to rip me off, but I’ve learned to be a good non-verbal bargainer.

If anyone is actually reading this, then you would have realized I have been able to post both of the days I have been here… my host “family” has wifi which is very strong everywhere except my room.  I dont have a problem with it though, the wifi is very convenient and allows me to stay in contact with everyone!

Tomorrow is my first day of work, I am very excited and don’t know what to expect at all.  That seems to be the theme of this experience, taking the unexpected, not having a clue what is happening and making the best of it!

Day One: Week One

 Posted by Natalie Klein at 1:48 pm  Peru  Comments Off on Day One: Week One
Jul 052015

Wow.  There are not a lot of other words I can use to describe my experience so far.  I am very quickly learning that a language barrier will have a huge impact on my trip, the almost fully Spanish speaking airport at 5am after an 8 hour flight, this morning was not the best start to a trip.  It is very hard to communicate with the locals such as people who offer you a thousand times for help when you really don’t know what you could need help with!  Either way I made it into the country and am absolutely mesmerized by this beautiful, poverty filled place.  I met all of my roommates and they seem like we will have a great time together!

Looking out the large windows into the thousands of houses nestled into the mountians is like looking at a painting, it is unbelievable.  I will try to capture it in photos but I am very certain it is 100% better in person.  I cant wait to explore the city tomorrow and get my work schedule for the next month!

Day one was a stressful, overwhelming, amazing day and I loved every second of it.

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