Ben & Gene assist the local community in Lobitos, Peru
During my trip through South-America I have visited a couple of SurfaWhile’s partners. One of them is Waves for Development, a volunteering project.
I would like to present to you Ben and Gene. Ben is from Australia and Gene is Swiss. During my visit to Lobitos, in the North of Peru, they both were working as a volunteer for the project Waves for Development. Gene was staying for a total of 3 weeks and Ben was working for the project for 10 weeks in total. It was such an amazing experience to meet them, to see what they were doing during their time at the project and how their interaction with the locals looked like.
Ben: ”Every day we start with the English classes, mainly for the kids from the community. The project has a main teacher and the others, like Gene and myself are assisting her lessons. The main goal of these lessons for us (as assistants) is to have the kids speaking as much English as possible. They all very much like to speak to foreigers, as they are proud of their level of English, which they are more than happy to demonstrate. Everyday I see the kids improving, which is amazing! Even a small conversation, e.g. asking whether they understand all the class material, can already mean a lot to them!”
Gene: ”During the weekends the kids can join the surf lessons. I’m not a great surfer myself (yet, haha) but I can well assist the surfing instructors. Together we make sure all the kids are having fun, while being in safe conditions. And they are learning as well! Also the small projects are very informative and enjoyable, where we help the locals in creating awareness in benefiting from the increasing tourism coming to Lobitos”
Besides the activities with the kids, the volunteers have several tasks or projects they can work on. Ben: ”Over de past week, I have been updating the stock-overview of the surf shop. The project is looking into the possibilities of renting out surfing material, so I have been making an overview of all the surfboards and surf gear we have at the moment. The week before that, I have been redecorating the large garden of Waves, together with some of the kids from this neighborhood. That was a lot of fun, and we both spoke Spanish and English, which was beneficial for all of us! Another example is that we go out into the town with local fishermen, where we try to help them with some general business knowledge. We try to teach them how they can build sustainable business, so that they can profit from the tourism coming in.”
Gene is staying for a total of 3 weeks, after which she will be exploring more of Peru. Gene: ”These 3 weeks (almost 2 so far) are absolutely amazing. I am thrilled with having the opportunity to make the kids enjoy, to make a change in their lives. Many of them improve rapidly in speaking English and I am very happy it turns out that I am actually doing what I came for: helping the local community.” Ben will be staying for about 2.5 months; ”Many people know me, even by name! I also know more and more faces, of both the kids and the local fisherman, that is amazing. I hope (but I believe that is actually happening!) that I can make a difference, an incredible feeling! The fact that I’m staying here for a while really enables me to have a great impact and I learn myself as well, both from working with the locals as some Spanish! This is an experience I can recommend anyone!