Can you present yourself?
My name is Camille. I’m a 21-year-old French girl. I was a volunteer during 6 months in CIMA, from beginning of January 2016 to end of June.
Why did you volunteer?
I wanted to make a break in my studies in order to think about my orientation choices. I always wanted to volunteer abroad, so it was for me the best time to do it. While speaking about my project, someone told me about CIMA, which concept interested me instantly.
What were you first impressions?
Since the first days I enjoyed to be there. The children were very welcoming, even if I couldn’t speak well Spanish yet. But I learned quickly because I was constantly immersing myself totally in the language. The staff of the association was very understanding about it. It helped me a lot in my integration.
Did you have a special project before coming?
No, I didn’t have a project in particular. That’s why I helped where the needs were and therefore I realized very varied missions.
What were your main missions there?
As I said, my missions were varied. I adapted with the needs: help in the workshops, in the kitchen, teach English and French, help with homework, renovate the place, organize activities like afternoon games, take the children to school outside of the CIMA or to the doctor…
What did you like the most in CIMA?
The children are very endearing. I think it is wonderful that we can give them a second chance. To live with them is a real life lesson. Even with their problems, they continue to live and smile.
What did you learn from your experience of volunteering?
Living 6 months in Peru, especially at CIMA, changed my vision of the world and of my own country. The culture shock I felt taught me a lot because it gave me the opportunity to confront myself to other ways of doing, working and thinking. It helped me to take a step back on the models I have known and get to know myself better. It also helped me in my professional choices. And of course I improved my Spanish.