Ever considered turning a family vacation into something more? FIMRC is always excited to host families at our project sites for those who are looking to give back and gain a different perspective than they would a on a typical family vacation. In August 2014, Jane LaLonde Shea and her three daughters traveled to Project Huancayo in Peru for a chance to bond as a family and to volunteer together. Below is Jane's account of her experience with her daughters and the people of Huancayo.
This past summer, my three daughters and I traveled to Peru to participate in the FIMRC mission trip based in Huancayo. My daughters at the time were 23, 19 and 17 years old. It was absolutely a wonderful experience for us. We did some traveling first and that included the opportunity to go to Machu Picchu, which was incredible. We then traveled to our host family's home. The host family was so easy to stay with and made sure we were well fed and had what we needed.
The volunteer sites that we went to were exactly what had been listed in the itinerary provided by FIMRC. We visited hospitals, clinics and orphanages. At the school we worked on dental hygiene for the children. Even though I understood the itinerary, it was a surprise to say the least, how involved we were in the places we visited. I had no idea how close and involved we would be at the hospital, clinics and the school. In addition, my daughters particularly enjoyed playing with the children at the orphanages as well as working at the extremely busy and incredibly peaceful soup kitchen. It was actually quite difficult to leave the children at the orphanage and in particular the orphanage that was the home to children with HIV. We still talk about those beautiful children.
We brought toothbrushes and toothpaste for many of the children at the orphanages we visited. It was pure delight to see the joy on their faces from these basic items. We enjoyed it so much we are trying to arrange another family FIMRC trip to volunteer and deliver more toothbrushes and toothpaste. This time we are hoping to take our whole family!
Having the opportunity to do this volunteer work as a family and add some exciting travel time together was a perfect combination for us. We came home, I believe, better individuals due to the volunteer work we did, the community we experienced and the country we traveled together.
Jane LaLonde Shea
With daughters Catherine, Meghan and Corrigan Shea