Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series of personal reflections from this year’s Global Impact Week (GIW) Fellows, who spent a week serving Los Martincitos elderly care center in Lima, Peru. You can read the first entry here!
Mike Parks (Washington, DC)
My experience with the Global Impact Week Fellowship in Peru will continue to inform my perspective for years to come. I found myself immersed in a community that manages to struggle through extreme poverty. At first glance I was saddened by the lives that our friends lead, but it didn’t take long for me to have a change of heart.
If there’s one thing about this trip that I’ll always remember, it’s the warm greeting that we received every morning from the grandparent-like figures with whom we were working. Their defiant spirits were encouraging to all of us. They would approach us by the dozens with sincere salutations, “Buenos Dias!” and a kiss on the cheek. It was an incredible way to start each day. They brought me solace and encouragement all at once. I could not have spent my time any more purposefully than I did with GIW Fellows.
Anuj Khanijau (Mumbai)
To pick up a best moment from the entire Global Impact Week for me would be like trying to pull out a pin from the haystack!
The entire week was full of learning, unforgettable moments with the team that I will treasure for life, moments of immense gratitude for what we have been given and moments of contentment to be able to give back to the lesser fortunate, whatever little that we could in our capacity.
If I have to pick up one moment though, it would be the home visits to the elderly. It invoked love, compassion, sorrow, hope, gratitude for what life has given us and a spirit of enquiry to ask myself of the higher purpose of life beyond the daily chores.
Jess Arasilango (London)
Regardless of their background, health or living conditions the elderly citizens at Los Martincitos showed kindness and welcomed us with open arms. It was great to work in a team of like minded CEB colleagues who were passionate about helping those less fortunate. I had no idea that I would learn so much about Peruvian culture history, my colleagues and even myself. This has been a truly eye opening and rewarding experience that I would highly recommend.
Mugundhan Kaliyaperumal (Chennai)
The NGO in India that I help to lead has the same set up as Los Martincitos, except that is focused on caring for children, not seniors. I have acquired a handful of ToDo’s after watching the way Los Martincitos operates and I look forward to sharing these ideas with my peers.
Aisling McKeon (London)
Never before have I gotten so much from people who have so little to give. Their compassion and gratitude for the little things highlighted what really is important in life: health, family, happiness.
We only spent a week at Los Martincintos but they’ve made a lifetime impact on me.
Carolina Valencia (Washington, DC)
As cheesy as it may sound, this week for me was a lesson in love, happiness, and kindness. The staff at Los Martincitos is sincerely committed to making the live of “los abuelitos” joyful and worth living. Everything they do, from the food they cook to the games and art they craft, is full of love.