THE VOLONTARIO Wir haben ihn als „Akrobat“ bei der Abschlussfeier im Juni 2004 noch in bester Erinnerung: der ehemalige Schüler der 5A EU aus Brixen Matthäus Kircher arbeitet für die OEW (Organisation für Eine Welt) seit einigen Monaten als Freiwilliger in Peru. Über seine Arbeit und seine Erfahrungen spricht er in einem Interview, das zwei Mädchen der 3A-WI, Sandra und Jasmin, per E-Mail mit ihm geführt haben. Das Interview ist auf Englisch, weil es ein Beitrag für die englische Schülerzeitschrift USE sein soll, an der unsere Schule mitarbeitet.1) Where do you live in Peru?I live and work in a town called Huaraz. Huaraz is the most important town of the Cordillera Blanca Area. From this town you can also see the Huascaran, which with its 6.800 meters is one of the highest mountains of the Andes. And from here most of the climbing tourists start their tours.2) Why did you decide to go to Peru?Well, if I remember right, I decided during some boring school lessons, that I wouldn’t go to university and that I wanted to see something new. I had always found Peru very interesting, but I also knew that I wanted to stay there for a longer time. I wanted to see the real life off the beaten tracks of the famous tourist routes. So I decided to do some volunteer work, because in that way I was not going to spend a lot of money and I could also come in close touch with the people.3) What are the living conditions of the people? The majority of the people here are poor. A lot of them are extremely poor and they have to survive with less than one US-dollar a day. At Huaraz you can observe a very common phenomenon: the migration from the land. Every day new campesinos arrive from their fields and they hope to find a better future in the towns. But Huaraz, for many of them, is just a short pit-stop on their way to Lima, where they hope to find a way to travel to Europe. Unfortunately they will never find a way out of their poverty.4) Which are the differences between Peru and Italy?PerÃº is four times bigger than Italy and its nature is one of the greatest differences. Peru has got a huge coastline along its west coast! There is an enormous desert behind this coast-line, before the extraordinary Andean Cordillera begins. And of course you can’t compare these mountains with our Alps! The Glaciers begin at a height of about 5,000. Behind the Andes you can see an endless sea of trees: la Selva Peruana (the Peruvian jungle). In Peru also the famous Amazonas River has its source. It marks the natural border with Colombia before it continues its way into Brazil.The food is not so different as ours, people eat a lot of rice, chicken, potatoes, salad, meat, corn, spaghetti…The music here is very different from place to place, but they also know famous artists from the United States and the most famous European musicians.5) How long are you going to stay in Peru?I arrived in March and I am going to stay here until December. Then I have to go back to work, because I don’t get paid here.6) How did you learn Spanish?I came over here with little Spanish, but I attended a language course in the first weeks and talking with the people I learned quickly. In fact I have already more difficulties to write something in English than in Spanish.7) What do you work?My work is very varied. First of all I have to coordinate the comedor de niños, which is a place where about 170 kids and teenies come to eat. More than 50 children stay here in the afternoon to do their homework with their teachers.Then I work with the handicapped 5-year-old Tatiana. She can’t walk, sit or eat alone and she can’t even talk. But she can cry if something hurts - sometimes it is really difficult to find out what exactly hurts - or laugh if she is happy. I learned so many important things working with her. And I don’t mind changing her nappies or washing her. I learned to be satisfied and to see the world with other eyes.Then I work with Yosman who suffers from the DOWN-Syndrome and with Keith, who is infected with the HI-Virus. They are close friends and I like a lot working with them. I also give an English - and a ten-finger-typing course in a small mountain village. I go there with the famous collectivos (small busses) but I have to walk back to Huaraz. That always takes me more than an hour, but I really enjoy this walk every time.8) Should we donate money for the people in South America?Money is always welcome and necessary, too. But if you want to donate something it’s better if you give this money to a well- working organization, where they can tell you exactly what they are using your money for.