Travel

On Assignment In Peru

The Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America

I have been assigned my new job in the Villa El Salvador shantytown in Lima. I will be working with the senior citizens, who are referred to as "abuelos," in the church-sponsored Los Martincitos program. Unlike other volunteer assignments in Villa El Salvador, in this program you actually go to recipients’ houses in addition to working at the senior center. I was told not to wear sandals as many have dirt floors. I am looking forward to the opportunity to see people’s homes.

Volunteer Work Placement

Programa Especial de la Tercera Edad "Los Martincitos," Villa El Salvador

Los Martincitos is a community-based initiative sponsored by the Catholic Church in Villa El Salvador. Three times a week, about 130 senior citizens receive basic services (two hot meals a day, recreational activities, a literacy program, arts and crafts classes, basic health care and counseling).

Participants face different challenges: neglect by their families; physical abuse; poor health and nutrition levels; inability to adapt to a new urban environment; and social rejection for racial and age reasons. They wait for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to come together and share their meals, sing and pray, play games and have fun. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the staff members pay followup visits to their homes.