BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL – It was a life-changing experience, according to Spencer Anderson, to travel to Peru this summer and provide humanitarian service.
“It was amazing,” he said. “The main thing for me was, usually when you’re here you might think life’s not fair because other people have stuff you don’t, but it made me really look and say, ‘Compared to these people, I have everything.’ So I want to do everything I can to help and serve them.”
The 17-year old visited Peru as part of Youthlinc, a Utah-based nonprofit with a focus on creating lifetime humanitarians, according to a press release.
There are probably not a lot of trips that leave 30-plus people in tears when it’s time to go home, Anderson told the Clipper.
This one gave students a chance to help a “really poor city” of 150 to 200 people, he said.
Some traveling students focused on teaching sewing skills, some did construction, some taught English and some coordinated micro-enterprise loans.
“It was a smaller village so everyone was able to make really, really good connections with a lot of the people there,” said Anderson. “I grew really close to most of the kids there because there’s not really a ton.”
Anderson’s group also included a fellow Bountiful High student, Rinpoche Price-Huish, and Brooke Burningham and Alyssa Sheehan of Davis High.
In order to qualify for the trip, students were required to provide 60 to 100 hours of service, with 40 of them being at one service site.
Davis County students volunteered at Apple Tree Assisted Living, Count Care Assisted Living, North Canyon Care Center, Davis Community Hospital, Treehouse Museum, Knowlton Elementary and other afterschool tutoring programs to earn their hours.
“It made me really feel like I actually earned the trip,” said Anderson. “It made me get in my service mode.”
Other Davis County students serving for a week or two in countries abroad this summer are Reina Eads and Stephanie Gardner of Davis High, who traveled to Keyna in June; Kristen Bernard, Jacie Richman and Madison Taylor of Viewmont High School, along with Megan Merkley and Bryanna McCausland of Davis High, who traveled to Guatemala.
Austin Goodwin of Woods Cross High, Shaelyn Barber of Bountiful and Marissa Stagg of Davis High will return from Cambodia this week.
Mark Burningham, who teaches at Viewmont High, and his wife Shelly were team leaders for the Peru trip.
Youthlinc focuses on education, community health, vocational training, micro-enterprise and cultural exchange.
It services small impoverished villages in Cambodia, Guatemala, Peru, Kenya, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Peru team traveled by boat on the Amazon River for an hour from Iquitos to reach Yanamono, the city in which they were serving.
They stayed at a little lodge just 10 minutes away from the village by boat and would start every day with the short ride on the river.
There was not a lot of time for tourism, said Anderson, but they did have a few days to take “a couple jungle walks and do a little piranha fishing.”
More information on Youthlinc is available at youthlinc.org.