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First Week Volunteering with Surf Cerrito

What a week it has been! Here’s a short story of my first few days volunteering at Surf Cerrito.

On the back of a mammoth night bus journey from Ecuador, my partner and I arrived on Saturday evening during sunset in Huanchaco, where we caught a glimpse of the natural scenery we’d be blessed with for the next month. Straight from the bus and to dinner with the volunteering gang helped us quickly feel right at home. This communal feeling was followed up the next day by a group surf led by Brayan, local surf instructor and Surf Cerrito’s charismatic co-founder.

Into the first week of work. Brayan kindly took us to discover the bigger city Trujillo, where we sampled local dishes and walked through the sprawling markets. But the main aim of the day was to gather supplies for Día de la Madre (Mother’s Day), which was taking place that Sunday, a very important day in Peru! As a gift to their mothers, the team of young surfers at Surf Cerrito had decided to create a DIY artistic piece, made from plastic bottles. And this would fill our Wednesday and Thursday activities at Cerrito Surf School. Though I was at first overwhelmed by a new group of 25 excitable kids, I was quickly welcomed and was in awe as I watched the group working collaboratively to create their designs. And on the Saturday, we made the final touches and invited all the mothers to gather to receive their gifts. It was truly special to be witness to such a dedication of love!

Of course, I can’t talk about my first week without talking about the surfing. Friday was the first time I went out to the water with the Surf Cerrito crew, where I saw the kids thriving in the water – some out back and confident surfers, others by the shore and enjoying being in the Ocean. Whichever level they were, there’s no doubt that the Ocean is a space that encourages play, respect and education, where all kids can focus their energy on surfing and forget about everyday worries that they otherwise face.

The plan for next week is to continue surfing, and head to Chicama with the volunteering team, to surf the longest left wave in the world! Can’t wait.

Thibaud Sulzer

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