About Peru

Global Volunteer Network currently has opportunities to work on a range of projects in Peru. Volunteers can become involved in childcare, teaching, construction, healthcare, cultural, and conservation/wildlife projects.

Peru boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in South America and volunteers will primarily be based in the city of Cusco, the historical capital of the Inca Empire. In contrast to its stunning geography, which attracts growing numbers of international visitors to Peru, poverty and unemployment remain high throughout rural regions and more than half of the population live below the poverty line.

Please visit the Global Volunteer Network website for more information about the Peru Volunteer Program.

Recent Peru Journals:


Thurs. 10/30/14 OMG!  Mi cabeza me duele mucho!  It was not good in spanish class this morning.  I had done my homework but the last two sentences that I was supposed to make to turn verbs into adjectives just didn’t work.  I could not find examples and I could not figure out how to do the sentences.  As it turns out, I just went ahead and wrote one that I knew didn’t make sense, at least not in English. Thought maybe it would pass in espanol….. Nope.  So then we worked on that abstract concept for a while before I even realized it was an abstract concept, (cuz everything I do here is in espanol, and I just don’t always get it), and then he finally said that it is a part of speech that is not used in Spanish or English!  Well, gracias! Thank you very much for finally telling me in English!  Whew!  I just wasn’t getting it, and I didn’t know why! So then we used the last half hour of my time in class–at least I used the last half hour struggling through a fill-in-the-blanks story of Sinbad and the Cyclopes–with more abstract concepts, and words that I didn’t know the meaning of, and I cannot use a dictionary in there.  Ugh!  And my figuring-out skills seem to be absent for these last couple of days.  Oh my head is full!  Maybe that is a good sign that we are using higher level abstract concept kinds of things, to challenge me, but it is way more difficult due to the cultural differences and things that are missing from my North American life-programming!  I am truly challenged! Whew!  Glad to be out of class this morning.  I think I will take the long way to the bus [click here to read more]


LATE ENTRY FOR:   Tu. 10/28/14. Tipon, Andahuaylillia, & Piquillacta Today after spanish in the morning, Andre, Edwina, Kristi (all volunteers here at Pilar’s homestay), Ricardo (Andre’s spanish teacher), and Daniella, a woman who is a missionary here in Peru, all took a tour van to some not-so-touristed places, including having almuerzo (lunch) in Tipon before checking out the Inca agricultural reservoir site up the hill.  The men and Daniella ate the Peruvian delicacy, Cuy, that is grilled whole guinea pig served on the platter with all of its little charred parts still (somewhat) intact.  I didn’t watch, but you’re supposed to just pick it up in both hands on either end, and go to it.  Gross! Tipon has a very impressive site of carefully engineered terraced Inca walls and canals that are spring fed from subterranean pools.  Inca, because of the way they cut the granite, using other harder stone tools, to fit puzzle-like together, using some of the concepts of mortis and tenon construction too.  All constructed up the side of a hill, there was plenty of room and ruined walls for Ricardo’s little Isabella and me to play hide and seek around, and to skip from rock to rock.  She is the sweet young super chulita (super cute!) 3 year old daughter of our guide.  She and I had a lot of fun making up games, and making funny shadow shapes with our bodies against the rock walls. From there, we went to the beautifully decorated Iglesia de San Pedro in Andahuaylillas, a tiny little town about an hour and a half southeast of Cusco.  The fancy Baroque decoration of the inside of the church can easily stand up against any that we saw in Italy 4 years ago.  Cuscanians call it their Little Sistine Chapel, and [click here to read more]


Wed. 10/29/14 So today as we ducked our heads and stepped out of Sra. Pilar’s front door, 2 relatively large-for-the-space construction trucks were backing up on Carmen Alto, very close to the door space, so that we immediately plastered ourselves up against the wall to wait and see what would occur.  As you always assume that where there are vehicles backing up, most likely there will be someone in front of them coming toward them, too close and too fast, we decided to go a different route rather than risk being squished in the confusion.  But we did watch for a bit with smiles on our faces as four vehicles jockeyed for position at this little tiny intersection and pushed one of the trucks backward down the entire length of the city block.  And then another truck dumped a load of gravel to the side of the same little tiny cobbled street, causing all vehicles behind it to have to wait for the guys to shovel most of the gravel to the construction in the lot behind it before they could pass.  Crazy.  And the cars and busses all have horns that drivers are not afraid to use.  I don’t think that 15 seconds go by without at least one horn.  If you’re not rolling when the light changes, you get honked at.  So there. I have stopped watching the road as I take the bus back to city center each evening from the orphanage.  It’s about a 35 minute bus ride, definitely with more excitement than I am comfortable with, and I learned to drive in Los Angeles! My spanish homework went better today, and I am starting to get a hang of the different past tenses, but just today, I think I am beginning to experience what usually [click here to read more]

Mon. 10/27/14. Finally, some cardio! :-)

 Posted by Stephanie Stellhorn at 3:17 am  Peru  Comments Off on Mon. 10/27/14. Finally, some cardio! :-)
Oct 292014

Mon. 10/27/14  That’s it!  I’ve got it! And now, just one week since I arrived, I have found that I am able to run stairs and get some actual cardio exercise AND get warm in the mornings.  It’s been a bit tough for this cardio junkie, but honestly, until Saturday, I really didn’t feel like cardio.  Moreover, at times last week, I actually thought my lungs would burst (and quads would give it up) with my efforts to get air while ascending just one flight of stairs.  Kindof a weird feeling for me.  I’ve had plenty of energy, just not quite enough oxygen for the fuel to combust properly.  Now I think I feel almost normal, well as normal as I get.  😉 Had substitute maestro for Spanish class today, who helped me put some things together, and really brought me a bit more understanding about the language.  Her name is Tawnja, but she is not going to be my regular instructor, cuz my actual instructor just ran into “some difficulty with getting toward today”.  Kindof an interesting way to put it, I guess. Today at the orphanage is the first day without the other volunteers from England, so right now I am the only volunteer here.  So, the routine when I get there at about 1:00 is to see if any of the four kids who are there need anything.  It’s pretty quiet and I’ve been just doing massage and stretching for Yesica’s feet and legs, and then talking to or singing with the other kiddos:  Betsy, Danny, and Tanira.  Then about 1:30, the other kids come home from school in their uniforms, and they need to change clothes.  I help the girls in the downstairs bedroom change into regular clothes and get their home shoes on (I found [click here to read more]


Tu. 10/21/14 Wow! So can we revisit the Frogger concept of automobile and pedestrian traffic?!!!  I have only one word for it here: LOCO!  Seriously, someone is gonna get hurt. I got a ride in a Cusco taxi today, 2 times, in the pouring rain the second time. Who knew that Yugos (or whatever this Cusco equivalent is) were so agile in the rain?!!!  The larger intersection lights count down the seconds both directions so that each way knows when the other direction will be going, theoretically. But I don’t know what you do when everyone goes together at the same time, and the gridlock is tremendous at peak times. So, when I say larger intersections, there are frequently still only two lanes (one each way) but there is actually space for a third, and sometimes a fourth car to get squeezed in next to eachother, or at least kitty corner to eachother, and straddling the hint of lines that remain.  And where there is no traffic control, that’s exactly what you get. No control: taxis backing up, making 9-point turns in the narrow little intersections between close stone buildings, unhurried native pedestrians and hurried Americans and Europeans walking all around the car while it tries to negotiate.  And there are usually no less then 12 little Yugos-like cars backed up behind said taxi, between which more pedestrians are squeezing, quickly, before the levee of cars breaks and let’s them all through in a long line that this American will not dare to try crossing, but many others brave on a regular basis. LOCO! There is a police presence, but I think this just may be comic relief in their day for all of the attention traffic is given. So, the orphanage is 45 minutes from the center of town, even in [click here to read more]


Sun. 10/26/14 I got up this morning and walked lots of stairs in the neighborhoods to get warm before everybody woke up, and then met up with some other volunteers at 9 to tour a couple of cathedrals and check out some of the shops.  Suzanne and Julie, the other MN volunteers that I have hung around with for these two days, went into a cafe for WiFi, and I stayed outside and spoke with a little 10 year old street vender named Ruth.  She really wanted me to buy a little llama keychain, pen, or bracelet, but instead I was zipping on my pant legs to go into the cathedrals and she asked me where I am from and how much my shoes cost. We struck up a conversation and I told her that my shoes probably cost about $60 or $70 U.S.  The years ago when I bought them.  And I made a really gross calculation in my head to 200. soles (Peru currency).  She got a funny frown on her face, shook her head no rapidly, and then used one of her souvenir Peru pens to write the correct calculations on the back of her hand for me to see.  Boy was I wrong!  She showed me that $20 US = s/56 so that $60 US would be s/168, and so on.  Her smile was very proud.  Priceless.  Super chulita, super cutie pie! Think I got a bit of a sunburn on my scalp this morning, maybe combo from yesterday morning too.  Will cover more appropriately in this intense sun.  At noon to 1:00 pm, on days when we can see the sun, it is directly above us, not so much to the south as it is at home, so very intense.  I have remembered well to sunscreen no matter what every morning, [click here to read more]

Sat. 10/25/14 Sacsawaman

 Posted by Stephanie Stellhorn at 8:16 am  Peru  Comments Off on Sat. 10/25/14 Sacsawaman
Oct 262014

Sat. 10/25/14 Sacsawaman.  Sacsawaman!  Kinda sounds like something I’d want to shout as I took off on an amazing adventure, doesn’t it?  Kindof like “Tuwanda!” Today was the first day that I have been wakened up by the alarm.  For some reason, while on vacation, I have been waking up at 4:45 or 5ish.  Go figure.  So today, I met Suzanne and friends in front of the main cathedral to head up to Sacsawaman at 6 am.  It’s a nice little climb, and we had done about 7 miles by the time we were done walking around the Sacsawaman Inca ruins and then across to the statue Christo Blanco.  I must’ve taken 5 or 6 whole panoramic views of the city.  I had no idea how big or how beautiful the area was until we got up there, and it totally helped that it was just a beautiful morning!  I got to peel off so many layers!  Until it began to rain a bit, and then a bit more right about the time that we were gonna go horseback riding.  So I put the layers back on, and then some. So I chickened out on the caballos, horseback riding because of the rain, even tho I have my poncho from Costa Rica zip-lining, and instead went for researching my last week of tours.  Which turned out to be a good thing and I was able to figure some stuff out, like Sacred Valley next Sunday, Machu Picchu 3 day trek vs the colder 4 or 5 day treks, and then hopefully Lago Titicaca and the island stay. And then I took the scenic route through Plaza Santiago to San Pedro market, that is somewhat like Chichicastenango Market in Guatemala, only the covering is a large roof vs all the little tent coverings in Guate. [click here to read more]

Fri. 10/24/14

 Posted by Stephanie Stellhorn at 11:25 am  Peru  Comments Off on Fri. 10/24/14
Oct 252014

Wow, I think I was so tired last night that I forgot to post this….  Don’ t know what’s up with the different fonts….  Enjoy!   Fri. 10/24/14 It was weird. I don’t know what I did last night.  Completely lost a couple hours worth of journalling all at once on my iPad.  I love this thing for traveling, but sometimes (most times) my technology outsmarts me by a longshot.  Rebooted a couple times and everything… Nada.  But then I started rewriting and a prompt popped up to paste. When I pasted, it all came back. So I guess at some point, I had copied the whole thing and then moved to a different screen, and when I came back, it had all gone away without me knowing that I had copied.  Anyways, Whew!  A close one! It was a long day today!  I was really tired when I got home pretty late for me at almost 7:30.  I called Pilar from MN to let her know that it would be at least 7:20 because I still had to go recharge minutes on the cell and get water before going back up the hill.  Usually I am home plenty before the 7:00 designated dinner time, and tonight I knew there would be no other volunteers, so I was the only person they were cooking for besides themselves. So I actually had a really nice dinner with just Mario, Pilar’s uncle, who heated up veggie soup and a plate of rice and Hava beans with potatoes for me, so now I can be in a total carbohydrate coma with all of that starch in my system.  Should put me right to sleep any minute now.  Oh, and I can’t forget the coca tea that can pretty much cure anything that ails you in [click here to read more]


Th. 10/23/14 Wow!  Is it already Thursday?!!!  The week flew by after the shock of first impressions and the altitude.  Today was a wonderful day!  It was warm for most of the day, including right now.  I got to peel off all the way down to two layers and it only rained just a few drops here and there.  Plus, I got some laundry done to take care of the somewhat gunky clothes that I have been wearing to the orphanage, and I purchased two big mens’ L t-shirts to wear over my clothes when I am there from now on.  Yay!  Now I don’t have to wear gunk home on the bus.   I started my morning sitting in the little Spanish Colonial balcony, that is my 2nd story window, in the warm sunshine, doing a couple hours of homework and practicing.  There is such a contrast in temperatures between shade and sun. It can easily be more than 10 degrees because of the intensity of the sun here.  And the Spanish Colonial architecture consists of almost two-foot thick Adobe walls with no internal heating at all, so the room stays pretty chilly, even after a warm day.  On my walk down the hill, I stopped to take pictures in the Plaza de Armas, and kept right on going down a new route, taking the scenic way to work for the first time. That’s when I was able to pick up the shirts, and water for the day, and then I stopped in the phone store once again, and a young woman was finally able to show me exactly how to call home with the little mobile phone that I purchased.  And I talked to my mom!  Yay! Spanish class is such a challenge, but it’s getting more fun [click here to read more]


Wed. 10/22/14 Today we turned on some great Peruvian music and the kiddles danced with scarves.  So much fun with a simple prop!  I am thinking of bringing some to Zumba with me sometime.  I put an APB out on my facebook page for folks to GET INVOLVED and help raise funds for these kids that have so little and need so much.  The staff at Maximo Nivel really go all out here to make sure that the funds all go to the project of our choice.  They will actually go to the store and purchase items that are most needed, including food, hygiene aids, household objects, a washing machine, a fridge, kitchen items, etc. So, yesterday, I accidentally left the box and charger for my new little Peruvian cell phone at the Maximo Nivel office computer room, a public, very busy space.  So I pretty much thought it was gone for good when I got there this morning and asked at all of the offices and checked Lost and Found, and asked many staff about it individually, and they hadn’t seen anything.  Well, I asked the computer room security guy this evening, and his eyes lit up and he said that yes, he found it and put it right…… There.  On an empty desk in the same room, where, of course, it no longer was. And he and several others there tonight could not find it.  They were gonna watch 24 hours worth of video camera footage for me to try to locate it though, which was nice. A young man named Hector made it his mission tonight to assist me and we revisited all of the offices and locations that I had already asked at, including Lost and Found, to try to find this thing. When we came [click here to read more]

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