While i have not finalized any plans, i am thinking about doing a volunteer program in either Bolivia or Peru. Having never been to either I have no opinion on which would be better. I am leaving it up to people that have perferably been to both for an informed opinion.
Oh yeah...this volunteer work is a long term placement through the Jesuit Volunteer Program...I would be there for a year. I am looking for an authentic place that I can really get to know about the culture and the people.
Thanks in advance!!
Although i loved Bolivia in terms of the people more than Peru (sorry if i have offended people- it was just it was the friendliest place i have ever been in the world) I would go to Peru if i was doing a placement for a year. The political instability that can slow down the country to a standstill and really the difference in affluence between the countries would sway me into Peru.
Bolivia is a truely AMAZING country, probably my favourite for landscapes etc.. but if i was staying somewhere for a year i would try and stay in peru as it definately is more developed. Lima is like an up-to-date capital of the world with latest things, the road systems in Peru are FAR FAR better than in Bolivia, which will give you a chance to travel about a bit easier than 4x4 in Bolivia (if you could avoid a demonstration and a road block!)
Peru in my opinion
I see on the web that the 'Jesuit Volunteer Program' is an American lay catholic organisation whose aim is to 'to serve the poor while living in community and seeking to do justice in the service of Christian faith'.
As most of South America is staunchly Catholic, with a hint of Voodoo in parts, Animism and the odd bit of Sun worship (my preference), perhaps you should hit some poor Amazonian area in Peru or Bolivia instead of enjoying the modern poverty of La Paz or Lima.
Then you will find a different culture and people who need every help you can give but don't need religious interference.
There are many ways to God, and she don't care how you get there.
Thanks for the insight guys...very useful I will take your suggestions into consideration. Yeah, actually....apparently I did not read Jesuit Volunteer Programs requirements too closely...if you participate in one of their international programs you have to make a two year committment. While I think it would be very interesting to live in South America, there are just too many places that I want to see and live in to stay somewhere for two years. That being said I am looking into more programs in Peru, but I have also found some other organizations that do work in both deep Mexico and nicargua. I am leaning towards Peru or Mexico, as my poor mother might die of an anxiety attack if I moved to Peru. That being said...thanks again for your suggestions...if anyone has anymore opinions...please pass them along. Take care!
Opps..slight correction to my last posting...my mother might have an anxiety attack of me being in Nicargua. No offense to anyone there...I have heard it is a beautiful and interesting country as well, but that there are lots of political problems that can get pretty serious at times. But then again, what do I know?!?!