One of the best feelings in our work is to see volunteers provide assistance to a community or a medical outpost or teaching kids to read in rural Ghana. If I were to ask my friends who also do this kind of work, more than likely they would say the same thing. Watching our volunteers and watching the smiles of the recipients of that volunteer's efforts.
I am always asked, "What is your favorite city in the world?" Or, "What is your favorite country in the world?" To be quite honest, it depends on the time of day someone asks. Too many favorites I have.
One thing is clear, however. When I am asked the best part of my job the answer is always the same. It's watching what happens when our volunteers return from their project. I've become obsessed with finding out what each GeoVisions' volunteer, tutor and teacher are doing. More times than not, it is special, as you can see with Daniel Jackson.
Daniel went to Cusco, Peru with GeoVisions last June (2009) to work in the Medical Center there we support. He was able to volunteer for six weeks.
Daniel is a photographer and you can see his work on his website. But once Daniel returned to the U.S. he started Friends of Belempampa. Daniel was so taken with Cusco, and with Belempampa, that he organized a group of international volunteers and staff who have worked at the Belempampa Health Center in Cusco and then put together the "Friends" website to help provide support to the medical center.
Please consider supporting Daniel, his group and his new non-profit group, which will
- help provide much-needed ambulance equipment;
- train everyone at the center for gentler treatment of patients;
- fund new triage equipment;
- buy new devices for doctors to listen to babies' heartbeats;
- provide food for patients;
- a larger supply of sanitary protections;
- install a warm water line to obstetrics' staff shower;
- provide a stomach pump for newborns;
- and provide warm water for wash basins for newborns.
Already, the Friends of Belempampa have donated digital thermometers and put together research on handling and preparation of dangerous meeds. If you check out the website you will see a list of projects completed and their cost (in U.S. $ and volunteer-hours) and then click a link on that page to see a list of projects they hope to accomplish and that cost in funds and hours.
Please support the Friends of Belempampa. How can you do that? Well, it could be as simple as making a comment below and we'll pass it on.
You could reach out and email anyone there. You'll find a lot of information on each person who belongs and has something to do with the group. Even an email to voice your support for what they are doing would be encouraging to them.
You can donate. There is even a link to the group's financial records.
Look…this is the real deal. This is Daniel deciding to leave his photography for awhile and volunteer in Peru for six weeks. It's Daniel helping children being born, taking temperatures, taking weights and making sure the medical records were updated. This is Daniel making a difference in Peru. And this is Daniel coming home and making a difference.
Daniel votes with his wallet and he votes with his feet. He is literally where the rubber meets the road. Please support Daniels' group by reaching out and encouraging them to keep going. Or donating. Or volunteering your time.
This is volunteer abroad. This is the definition of voluntourism.