South America | Peru | Central Peru | Lima – The truth about Kusi Warma
Volunteering for Kusi Warma was both wonderful and frustrating, interesting, boring and rewarding.
Wonderful because of the gorgeous babies i got so attached to. Frustrating because of the kind of people who run the organization. Interesting because I got to see slum areas in Lima, visit some of the babies in their homes, see how the hospital took care of the babies, and talk to the parents when they came by the center. Boring because sometimes there was little to do and I was’t actually responsible for anything. Rewarding because at times they really appreciated an extra helping hand.
The impression I have of Kusi Warma is a mixed one.
I was outraged by the way they treat people and employees differently according to social status. The women working directly with the kids stand last in line to serve themselves when food is set at the tables at the Kusi parties. These women work hard and long hours, they have little or no education and most live far outside of central Lima. Some of them wake up before dawn to get to work, they live out in slum areas and are themselves, rather then living, struggling to survive.
The woman working in the administration come down to lunch with their smart little outfits, mobile phone attached to the waist, and seemingly belonging to a whole other world. A world of make up and high heels.
I came to Kusi Warma independently, meaning; a big foreign organization didn’t send me. I was treated in a completely other way then some other volunteers that came through organizations. I came without dollars.
I was disappointed to see how poorly organized they were at times, how they didn’t fully make use of the volunteers they had. There were days were I sat around feeling more in the way then anything else. All I wanted was to be a helping hand, and feeling useless and in the way was frustrating when I knew that if they just organized themselves better there were so many things I could have done. I had so many suggestions, but was met with a shrug: They didn’t seem to care. They were just there to do their job, they were making a living and weren’t interested in changes or being more effective. My impression is that they didn’t know how to use what they had, the available resources, in the best way.
I asked myself many questions.
How is it possible to help others?
Who funds Kusi Warma and what is their motive?
What would have been best for the children and their families?
How can volunteers be included and made useful to an organization?
Is it helpful that money is being donated from abroad? How should this money be used? Who gets to decide this?
I, personally, do no longer believe in this kind of foreign funded aid-programs and will in the future only volunteer with my time and not with money.