Some years ago we “discovered” a special type of traveler: The volunteer traveler.
Maybe it was the opposite way, because they came to us to participate in trips, to exchange some books, to look for some information, to stay at La Casa de la Abuela or to take some of our courses.
We learned that some of them were doing volunteer work for some big organizations, that they had paid large sums of money to participate in a volunteer program and that they were not given any organized work to do, except to play with children or do whatever they could come up with themselves to help the local institutions, without knowing if they were making a needed, sustainable contribution or not.
It was quite sad to learn that some of them were people with excellent skills but they were not able to apply their training and skills to some real work to really help our people. Unfortunately, some decided to leave the places they discovered that the families were not paid much, or even that some were volunteer families providing food and shelter for free in the belief that they were helping the volunteers to help our people! Other organizations seem to keep all of the money that volunteers donate for themselves and close family members, without providing the accommodations and meals promised, or providing any funding for the volunteer programs.
So it was then that we started to provide lodging and food with a small discount to volunteers at Casa de la Abuela and at our family homestays.
We have provided lodging to travelers since 1995. Since then, many travelers have enjoyed themselves and learned good Spanish from our courses, and we believed that there was a real potential to develop in other fields.
We took one place as a challenge to test the possibilities.
The Orphanage El Rosario was and still is a place to learn about both sides:
the volunteers and the people in need of help.
As it happens a lot in Peru some people just copy whatever seems to make money,
specially in our survival economy, so it is not surprising that Huancayo
is now full of “organizations” that also offer courses and whatever
Incas has been offering for years, only cheaper and just “organized” however
they can with their lack of experience and resources.
During the last two years, as others undercut our prices and
we did not change ours, we basically lost the volunteer travelers as customers for our courses and also for our good organized volunteer work.
The main reason was that although the quality of our lodging, food and courses were higher than those from the new “organizations” our costs were also higher and our differences were hard to perceive from afar comparing websites alone, as the other organizations actually copied and pasted parts of our website and systems! They did this with the help of some travelers who probably believed they were helping these new organizations. Nice!
This resulted in many of their volunteers complaining and feeling cheated in Huancayo. We knew that the money they paid could have been put toward a much better experience and ultimately help, not hurt, the reputation of the Central Andes. We did most of the work to promote these áreas, but now, we seem to be according to some volunteers, the expensive option… sad, some travellers just can not see the difference, just trying the cheap stuff.
So, we decided to end this part of our service about Volunteers as we understand that some “International Organizations” like to set up with unknown illegal organizations in Huancayo a “volunteer system” how it works, they offered also to us to find International volunteers taking 50% from the money that we could get from lodging and food!!!!!!
We already offer a good service for all different traveler at a good cost, to pay well our people, teachers, guides and therefore we got our name recommended in all guide books, but since those other local “organizations” can offer that special cost for the International “providers” stuff them, we do not work for cents, we respect our work and could not just be given whatever tips, just because you have the “market” nice work people.
Here some pictures and comments from past volunteers who had a great time with us. It was fun and we will treasure those memories as we did have a good moment with you all, sorry for those place we cannot anymore have volunteers to help. More and more we can see young volunteers with no skills trying to be volunteers, but not much to offer in any terms.