Volunteering at the Valley of the Moon Children's Center in Bolivia: great insight to the local indigenous culture
by Verity Saunders
I volunteered for Up Close Bolivia and Valley of the Moon Children’s Centre January-March 2014. Right from the start I knew that this was going to be well organized. I had various emails with Emma Dolan who was suitably thorough in getting the relevant references and giving me an insight to what would be involved once over there.Up Close Bolivia   Volunteer in Bolivia
I arrived to be welcomed by Emma and her lovely family. It became apparent pretty quickly that this woman was pretty special with what she had done in her life so far and what she was doing in her hometown Mallasa.
There are three small houses where the volunteers stay, which compared to what I had stayed in elsewhere, were very much palatial! There was a fantastic team of young Bolivian ladies who helped keep everything running smoothly. They were incredibly supportive, upbeat and passionate about their work and what they were trying to achieve.
There were regular meetings to discuss any issues or new ideas for what we were doing. Volunteering at the Children’s centre was a great insight to the local indigenous people’s culture and way of life. Learning to work alongside people who have different views and practices is both a challenge and rewarding experience.
There were many opportunities to not only volunteer at the Valley of the Moon Children Centre, but also to take part in other community based activities. Such as dance competitions, after school clubs, working at the local zoo and working at the riding for the disabled etc etc.
It was great to be staying in area were you felt you were part of a community, that was a lot down to Emma and her family. I regularly think of them as it struck me how much love and happiness there was in their family and with what they were doing with the various communities.
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