PSF Volunteers enjoy an extremely unique experience not only in the work they do but also in the atmosphere they live in. The PSF Headquarters is not only our center for logistics, administration and daily meetings, but also serves as a dining area, common room, courtyard and dormitory. This allows volunteers to get to know each other better outside the work-site and forge friendships that will last a lifetime.
The hard work volunteers put in during the week undoubtedly warrants some fun and relaxation during evening free time and on the weekends. During the week we organize a variety of activities for volunteers in the evenings. We often play football (soccer) and basketball, cards and board games or chill out around the fire pit getting to know fellow volunteers from around the world. Musical ballads are known to break out from time to time as well as the always entertaining pub-quiz nights.
Yet one of the biggest perks of volunteering in Pisco lies in the plethora of weekend outings we organize. PSF is located just 10 minutes from Paracas, where tours leave several times during the morning to visit the Ballestas Islands, which showcase incredible biodiversity, including thousands of birds, sea lions, Humbolt Penguins, dolphins and sea turtles. We are also a little over one hour from the regional capital city of Ica; from here volunteers can venture out to the desert oasis of Huacachina for sandboarding on the surrounding dunes or hanging by the pool for some sun and relaxation. Other options include camping on the beach in the Paracas National Reserve or digging your toes in the sands and surf of the Pacific just a five minute walk from the PSF House. No matter what your interests, there is always something for everyone to enjoy!
We offer dormitory-style accommodations with 4 – 14 beds per room in addition to several private rooms available to long-term volunteers who take on leadership roles at PSF. Volunteers staying at the PSF House are assigned a bed based on capacity, arrival time and length of stay1 If all beds are occupied when you arrive, there are several other options available within the immediate vicinity. We are always happy to help you to find adequate accommodations upon arrival.
Responsibilities & Conduct
As an organization comprised of and operated by volunteers, everyone must pull his/her own weight to keep things running smoothly. Volunteers are assigned jobs and responsibilities on a rotational basis throughout the week to ensure the cleanliness and general upkeep of PSF facilities. These tasks are generally tended to following the morning meeting each day and must be completed before the designated volunteers may join their teams on site.
A small group of volunteers is also asked to help prepare breakfast and dinner each day. They are responsible for buying the necessary produce and ingredients at the local market and preparing the meal for the entire house. This longstanding PSF tradition provides volunteers with a sense of accomplishment and pride (it’s a great feeling to feed up to 80 hungry mouths!). It also serves as a change of pace from typical projects while enabling our diverse volunteer body to share and enjoy a variety of dishes from around the world – a welcome deviation from the ubiquitous rice and potatoes that accompany just about any local plate!
Volunteers enjoy a collegial atmosphere that stems from a great group of people bonded together by a common desire to make a difference in the world. However, it is imperative for volunteers to understand that PSF’s image in the community is of paramount importance to our ability to operate effectively and fulfill our mission every day. When you come to volunteer at PSF, you represent PSF. You are expected to act in a mature, responsible manner that is considerate of local customs at all times. Upon arrival, all volunteers are obliged to sign a statement of understanding of PSF’s volunteer code of conduct, the violation of which will result in appropriate penalties or outright termination of service.
Our work is largely dependent on the trust of the community we serve and we cherish the relationships we have cultivated with so many people here. Pisco is a small city and has received relatively little tourism since the earthquake in 2007. As such, outsiders stand out in a crowd and you should expect that you will almost always be associated with PSF when in public, whether you are sporting PSF colors or not. Therefore, volunteers need to be constantly conscientious of this attention and help us to project a positive, professional image.
Breakfast served at PSF is hearty and well balanced. It includes tea and coffee, bread, jam, fruit and a main dish, depending on the volunteers wish to prepare that day (Ex. eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast, cereal, oatmeal/porridge, etc.).
Lunch is typically the main meal of the day in Peru and volunteers will often eat their meals on-site, prepared by local families or community members. If not, Project Leaders will bring volunteers to a local restaurant*, which will offer several traditional options. A typical Peruvian lunch features beef, chicken or seafood coupled with potatoes, rice or beans (usually rice). Peruvians are extremely proud of their gastronomy and for good reason!
Dinners at PSF offer a vegetarian and non-vegetarian option each night. One of the prominent features of life as a volunteer at PSF is the opportunity to contribute to the preparation of meals for 60 – 80 volunteers. Each day several volunteers are asked to help out in the kitchen, which allows volunteers to enjoy a variety of dishes from around the world.
*Always be wary of street vendors’ food, which is more susceptible to contamination, undercooked meat and raw fruits or vegetables. DO NOT drink water straight from the tap. Brushing your teeth with it is usually fine, but, for personal consumption, be sure to buy bottled water from a store or boil tap water before drinking (though the later is far less practical).
Volunteers work Monday through Friday and a half-day on Saturday. Every weekday morning, breakfast is served from 7:30 AM to 8:15 AM, and at 8:30 AM on Saturday. At 8:15 we have a morning meeting to make announcements and allocate volunteers to the day’s projects. Work starts immediately after this meeting. Lunch will be eaten at a local restaurant near your work site or will be provided by a family in the community. If you are working at the base, you can head out to a close restaurant or rummage through the fridge for leftovers. The workday generally finishes around 5pm and dinner is served at our headquarters at 6pm. Please see the schedule below for an example of a typical day for a volunteer working on a construction project in the community.
Time Monday – Friday
7:30 – 8:15 Breakfast (HQ)
8:15 – 8:50 Morning Meeting
8:50 – 9:00 Travel to Project Sites
9:00 – 12:30 Work on Site
12:30 – 13:30* Lunch
13:30 – 17:00 Work on Site
17:00 – 18:00 Return to PSF HQ, shower & prep for dinner
18:00 – 19:00 Dinner
19:00 – 22:00 Evening activity &/or free time
23:00 Quiet time
*Lunch times will vary depending on project progress and the nature of the work being done on a particular day. This is an approximation based on a typical day.
Time Saturday Sunday
8:30 – 9:15 Breakfast FREE
9:15 – 9:50 Morning Meeting
9:50 – 10:00 Travel to Project Sites
10:00 – 14:00 Work on Site
> 14:00 FREE
- PSF requires a minimum 2 week service commitment from all volunteers (longer for those designated to certain leadership positions). [↩]