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“We felt like we made new friends all along the way.”

UBELONG

UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Maureen Regier
Age: 47
Hometown: Ontario, Canada
Nationality: Canada
Degree: Ultrasound Technologist
Occupation: Medical Ultrasound Technologist at St Joseph’s Health Centre
Languages spoken: English, Dutch (intermediate), Spanish (beginner), French (beginner)
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Light Painting and Renovation in Cusco, Peru
Duration: 1 week
Start month: July 2017
Claim to fame: Maureen grew up on a farm, and has worked most of her life. She volunteered together with her family, creating an even tighter bond and great memories together. Welcome to the UBELONG Family!

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I decided to become a UBELONG Volunteer for a many reasons. The most important of these is because I wanted to find a way of volunteering for a short period of time, but to actually made a significant contribution. I wanted us to work hard and serve others who needed it, while at the same time, learn something from those people. I did not want us to be catered to or to be there just for the recognition of it from others.

There are many statements in the UBELONG Preparation Booklet that assured me that I had made the right choice by joining them. My favorite of these is: “You will not change the world. However, as long as you fulfill your responsibility of being a good international volunteer, you will be part of a very special chain of people collectively making a very positive impact on the world.”

What was your impact on your volunteer project?
The impact myself and my family had on our volunteer project felt so good and meaningful. We were not there long, but what we managed to do, physically, would have taken Ruben(“aka Maquina”…the machine/the maintenance man) at least a month. He was great at guiding us and thankful for our help. We took down a mud block wall, transported the broken pieces to a gully near the river, and the good ones to the neighbors for re-use. Once this pile was cleaned up and the wheelbarrow was fixed, we began on the footings and new walls made of clay blocks. We brought in the supplies and mixed the concrete by hand.

We could feel the altitude during our work day, but managed to put in full days and had fun doing it. What made it so fun, was the children! They did not have school, because of a strike going on, and so they were on us like glue. Many of the children wanted to help, while others were our reason to break and play games with. Even three year old Isha, was with us at every move. She had her own little shovel and was so determined. The children were so much fun, being open and welcoming and curious. We shared our languages, learning-teaching back and forth, as well as new games. We felt like we made new friends all along the way. I think of them so often and wonder what they are up to today!

What is your favorite memory?
I have so many favorite memories! This is a difficult question to answer. If I have to pick one, it would be my connection with Antonio. He is one of the children at the orphanage. He was thrilled to learn that my middle name is Antonia. We became fast friends, and it was very sad for me to say goodbye to him. All of the children, with their openness and expressiveness, will forever hold a special place in my heart.

In a sentence or less, how would you describe the locals you met?
Welcoming, friendly, helpful and open is how I would describe all of the locals we met along our way, and is why I love Peru.

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Related Post:
Meet Ryan, a young professional from Maryland, who volunteered with UBELONG in the caregiving project in Cusco, Peru.

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