Name: Dorothea Pilz
Hometown: Dohma Ot Goes, Germany
Languages spoken: German, English (fluent), French (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)
High School: Herder Gymnasium Pirna
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for People with Disabilities in Cusco, Peru
Duration: 7 weeks
Start month: April 2018
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
First of all, I wanted to dip into a different culture and really get to know the place. Because of that I started doing some research and found out about volunteering. From the first moment, I was really excited about living in a foreign city for a while, working with the locals and providing some help where it is needed. I just graduated so I didn’t have enough money to donate, instead I had a lot of energy, time and motivation to work for a better life of the Peruvian society.
UBELONG convinced me because of it’s transparency for example the honest reviews of former volunteers and the explanations what they take the money for.
What were your major challenges?
At the beginning the language was my biggest problem and as soon as possible I started taking Spanish lessons, so that I could get to know the locals. Furthermore I got pretty sick and was in a hospital for ten days. Honestly I never felt such a big fear before: I didn’t know what I had, I was far away from home and the medical standards are not comparable with Europe. Nevertheless the doctors did a really good job and I was good again. But when I talked to some locals they told me, that they could never afford going to a hospital because they don’t have an insurance. So there are people having deadly diseases and will never receive a treatment, just because they don’t have enough money. And that was finally the biggest challenge for me to accept, that so many people live in very poor conditions and I can’t help all of them.
What did you take from the experience?
I definitely appreciate my home and the country I was born in so much more and feel like I’m back in paradise compared to Peru. Apart from that I try to spend as much time as I have with my family and my friends and tell them how much I love them. Life is short and we never know what will happen tomorrow. Finally the disabled children I worked with made me feel so grateful that I’m healthy, that I can care for myself and live without any restrictions.
In a sentence or less, how would you describe local life?
Sometimes I had the crazy impression: The poorer the people are, the friendlier they treat you.