Lindsey Chapman's Travel Blog

Hostel Living
June 15, 2010, 4:35 pm
Filed under: Chile

For the past ten days I’ve been living in a room with seven other strangers and was awoken each night, and morning, by unusual sounds each day.  There is always someone snoring heavily, someone speaking nonsense in their sleep, someone stumbling in after a long night of partying, or someone packing up to catch a bus to move on to their next destination of discovery. So many interesting things happen in hostel living; countries represented by travelers from all over the world for differing purposes lugging with them different perspectives, varying backgrounds and all sorts of new catch phrases to learn. I absolutely love it. I stayed at a place called La Casa Roja, where the architecture is gorgeous and it is kept up really well by the house keepers.  However, I was able to move into my apartment on Sunday and I must say I also love having my own room, sleeping through the night and the luxury of unpacking the things in my suitcase. To have my cake and eat it too, I live in the center of the city and I have a breathtaking view of the city right from my bedroom.

This past week was orientation week with VE Global, the organization I am going to be volunteering with.  The orientation was so much fun and it was all in Spanish, which was helpful, but also frustrating for someone who’s comprehension level for listening ranges between 20 and 50% depending on the amount of concentration I put in and the speaker’s accent.

I did more exploring of Santiago with my fellow volunteers along with a lot of cheesy ice-breaker games which made me feel like I was back at Uni, as the Brits call it. And if anyone is looking to adopt a dog there are plenty, available and eager, wandering the streets of Santiago. Stray animals are not controlled here like they are in the states. In one fifteen minute walk you could end up passing a gang of up to nine dogs like I did last night on my way to the super market.

We also learned all about the institutions we will be working in. VE is an NGO that partners with 8 institutions within Santiago, some schools and some orphanages. VE provides the institutions with an extra set of hands for free with a goal to improve the quality of life for the children they serve. I will be working at Colegio Anakena, an elementary school for disabilities.  Teachers in Chile are referred to as “tias” and “tios”, which literally mean aunts and uncles in Spanish. The tia I was supposed to be working with went on pregnancy leave as of Friday so I will be starting fresh with the new tia they hire. As you might assume, I am both scared and excited.  My Spanish language skills will be tried and tested.

Thus far, I would unquestionably recommend working for VE to anyone who is thinking about doing volunteer work in South America; more info to come.


1 Comment so far
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are you ever going to update again?? can’t wait to hear what you’re up to!

Comment by Lisa

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