Some Additional Thoughts
I wanted to share some things that were either surprizing to me or that I wish I knew more about prior to my volunteer experience:
Read the Blue Sparrow predeparture guide. It really sets your expectations for Huancayo.
Plan on getting food poisoning and having stomach illnesses. Invest in some immodium before you arrive. Beware of ceviche that isn´t local trout.
If you have doubts about personal hygiene, visit a eucalyptus sauna at least once a week (you are given a room with a shower) and bring lots and lots of wet wipes. Also, bucket showering isn´t half bad on a warm day.
I feel really safe in Huancayo, and I often wander the streets alone, even at night. People here tend to be very warm and disarming. It is also my experience that people here are eager to share their culture with you. Some of my most memorable moments were when I threw caution to the wind and joined parties-fruit picking-hiking-eating with locals.
People often laugh at me and I now understand that it is not derisive, but rather out of a feeling of discomfort. Not many tourists pass through here and some people are nervous around a ¨gringa¨like myself.
Warning: cliche coming…
have an open mind and always assert your needs.