Saturday, September 14, 2013

Reader Request: I'm Going to Live in Peru Forever!

Updated 20 October 2017

It's not uncommon for me to get emails from people who say that they want to live in Peru forever, but don't know how to do it. It's usually accompanied by statements saying that someone (their husband / wife / partner / boyfriend / girlfriend / fiance / fiancée) is living in Peru / going to move to Peru and they'll get married and live happily ever after. More often than not the person emailing me has never been to Peru or has spent less than two weeks there.

Keep in mind that marriage is no longer forever. Divorce rates are high enough between people from the same culture let alone those from different cultures. The good news is that there are alternatives to residency besides marriage.
Differences in culture can also wreck havoc on cross-cultural partnerships. There's a reason why I wrote think carefully before marrying a Peruvian and that's it's one of the top 5 posts on my blog.

Moving is hard but it can be even harder if you move to a different country, don't speak the language, or if you don't have a job waiting for you. More often that not people end up begrudgingly teaching English. While there are other options than teaching English in Peru, they do take time to set up. If you do decide to to move to Peru, definitely take time and read the advice that other long-term expats have written.

While there are plenty of people that do end up living in Peru forever, just remember to keep your options open. Don't limit yourself to one country. Take things in stride and realise that there are many things beyond your control.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Changes for a New Hope: An NGO Volunteer Organisation in Huaraz, Peru

The following is a guest post by Jim Killon who runs Changes for a New Hope. Below is his story. There are many other organisations out there for people who want to volunteer in Peru.

I'm from Baltimore, Maryland. In 2009, I fulfilled a long-time dream of developing a project for the benefit of children living in a 3rd world country. I am an exhibited artist and photographer, writer/author and a social activist. I wrote an article about how volunteers have helped out. You can read the article at Volunteer Match.

The “Haz lo Correcto – Do the Right Thing” campaign in Huaraz, Peru has increased community awareness toward positive development there. I just wrote an e-book, “A Gringo in Peru – A Story of Compassion in Action,” and it has already reached readers in seven countries. You can find it on Amazon or Lulu.

Everybody wants to feel good don´t they? Everybody would like life to be a tad more convenient and manageable and in the shortest amount of time possible. And why not? After all we deserve it.

I was on a visa run to Toronto, Canada in November visiting with some wonderful friends who have supported this project for years now. While staying at their home, I was reacquainted with what has come to be strange to me because my day to day living in the Peruvian Andes is so different. Heated homes for one example. Floors with carpeting. Hot running water and a refrigerator, with food. A bed. Cars that were not 10 years old and beat up. Stores with thousands of choices and restaurants with page after page of options. Those everyday conveniences I had in my first 50 years spent in the U.S. has almost completely vanished from my memory, the impression of Peruvian living in the Andes, over the last 5 years, has replaced every nook and cranny of my thinking.

Every person´s definition of comfort is different. What makes each of us feel really great is also different. A pair of shoes that fit, warm clothing, basic hygienic supplies, soap and shampoo, deodorant and fingernail clippers are normal for most folks in developed countries. Where I live, it is barely a consideration. To have those things, for the children that we reach out to, is a luxury. But it would make them feel really good to have them.

I was able to bring back a few hundred pounds of materials and supplies into Peru for the children thanks to my Toronto friends and many others like them. This is what makes them feel good.

As good as in a fine meal at a nice restaurant or soaking in a Jacuzzi hot tub? No, it is different. It feels good on the inside, in a very special way and in a very special place in your heart. That´s how my friends and our supporters describe it to me. That is how I feel everyday, waking up in an unheated house, solid concrete walls in Huaraz, Peru. A bare light bulb hangs from the ceiling, water may or may not come out of a facet and is cold only. I adjusted, I manage, I never complain because I chose this life to be able to create the project called Changes for New Hope. I never regretted this decision. It is what makes me feel good inside, in that very special place. It is such an overwhelming feeling, the compassion and love in such a dynamic way that I generally forget the minor inconveniences that had replaced my North American life which was very comfortable.

We do what makes us feel good, gives us a sense of purpose and happiness. Some need to find it externally in some form or fashion. Others, a few unique individuals have found that special oasis of peace and tranquility and love deep within themselves by touching the lives of others who need them. Sometimes it is a post card with a message of heartfelt hope. Sometimes it is a box of materials and supplies like the ones I just mentioned. Sometimes it is a visit to help in a hands-on volunteering way. Sometimes it is funds. No matter what manner your heart is sharing, the feeling is incredible. It is real. It does´t end with a hangover, or a breakup text message or the shakes. It is a wonderful feeling of having found a purpose and it does not diminish or fade.

I invite each one of you who may be considering how to feel wonderful, deep within yourself, to try this experience, touch this piece of the world and the children who only want to feel good and share the comfort of your own heart with theirs.


FTC Disclosure and Privacy Policy