My first day was great, it was a Saturday and there were two project, both which went well with six other volunteers on hand! We broke into groups and colored with the children until time for their lesson- dental hygiene (I arrived with very limited Spanish and had to sit back for this). The second group was cancelled because of rain. The next day of volunteering, after listening to Jim talk of big plans- things the project would do, things he wanted me to do, places and things he wanted to show me, I learned everything about the NGO's history in the first week.
After the first week and hearing Jim's plans, I wanted to get started asked Jim for a bit more of a project. Where do you need me? He told me if there was any project I wanted to get started to tackle it, but didn't really seem to have any use for me, so to work with the kids too small to participate in the day's project. Problem being there was zero preparation or organization on Jim's part and any suggestions were immediately shot down or he told me had been tried before and just wouldn't work. Considering my limited time span, limited Spanish and abundant motivation, a past volunteer helped me get material together- Ready to babysit the kiddies!
I spent 5 weeks in Huaraz before realizing my time was being wasted. Many days were cancelled simply because of rain. The lesson plan for the day was determined by "how the kids were feeling" which was extremely frustrating. I'm not sure where my volunteer fee was spent. Jim said it would be for shoes and socks for the kids. Asked later he had an excuse, but no socks for the kids. Mandarins were bought every day para los ninos and they needed new art supplies regularly, yet I fear my money was not directly used to improve the lives of the children, but instead spent on a display for the museum opening.
I do believe Jim has good intentions with his NGO, however his words are not equal to his actions (he has many words for anyone who will listen- mostly negative words about Peruvians, but he seemed to prefer talking of what he has done). The profile states that all a volunteer needed is the desire to help. All I wanted to do was help! All there was for me to do was baby-sitting.
If you have the time, I can highly recommend that you stop by and share an afternoon with the kids, they are truly delightful. Plan to spend more time only if you have a high level of Spanish, are not bothered by a complete lack of structure or are prepared spend the enormous amounts of time that would be needed to find and repair the holes which are most definitely there.