Name: Chen Li
Hometown: San Mateo,California
Nationality: United States
Languages spoken: Chinese, English (fluent), Spanish (beginner)
Occupation: Release Manager at VMware
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for the elderly in Cusco, Peru
Duration: 1 week
Start month: May 2017
Claim to fame: Chen is very passionate about volunteering in local community services. She volunteered in different countries and areas as well as joined the company Ericsson in San Jose as a program manager assistant in the global training department. Very impressive Chen, keep up the good work!
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
My passion in life is to use technology to improve the female education status in different parts of the world. In the future, I would hope to start my own NGO to deliver actual service learning projects. I chose UBELONG because it provides very interesting projects in different countries, especially focused on promoting female and disabled group’s social status. The organization also has very good reviews. The reason why I chose to volunteer in Peru is because I wanted to understand more about ancient Native American culture (especially Incan heritage in the Andes).
What was your impact on your volunteer project?
I worked in a center for elderly people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Cusco. Most seniors that lived there have either been abandoned by their children or society and do not have a proper ID card issued by the government. They need a lot of help and social attention. The community has little access to internet, computer or any kind of modern technology. My day to day job was to help them in many different ways, including setting up computers, cell phones, teaching English, physical therapy treatment and house keeping by working with the physical therapist, administrators and nuns. It was a very rewarding experience because I was able to learn a lot about Incan culture with Spanish influence. I studied Spanish and Quechua (local language) as well. It inspired me to think how modern technology would be to influence the living conditions of people living in remote Andes mountains.
What is your favorite memory?
My favorite memory was to help the community organize a birthday party for the seniors. We brought cakes and served them desert. Later on, we set up a dance party and invited a professional band. I met volunteers from so many different countries including Peru, Germany, Denmark, etc. We danced together with the elderly. Everyone was very happy and enjoyed.
In a sentence or less, how would you describe local life?
Cusco is a very beautiful place, local people there are very calm, happy and relaxed, even though far away from modern civilization.