May 2013 Volunteer of the Month

Who is Beth Karbe?

Beth Karbe is an acupuncture physician and medical herbalist in Gainesville, Florida - when she isn’t organising grassroots fundraising for San Pedro de Casta, Peru - or out in the Gulf of Mexico on her small boat - or at home and quiet with her goofy hound dog and incorrigible orange tabby cat. You can also find her spending time with companion Lylly Rodriguez, extraordinarily wonderful friends, or with near and dear sister San Pedro volunteers: Judy Keathley and Carol Barron. In short, Beth lives a full and very blessed life, for which she is eternally grateful. But her ongoing relationships with San Pedro de Casta and Globe Aware have brought her many more unimaginable gifts, and blessings far too numerous to count.

What Beth says about her trips?

Beth describes her experiences candidly and passionately:

“The latest big adventure in my life was a second volunteer trip to Peru in August of 2011, this time with the amazing Globe Aware. The first I had self arranged, at Casa de Milagros, an orphanage in Sacred Valley. That was my first time out of the country and I traveled solo - both a humbling and empowering experience. But I was fixated on an unexplainable “calling” to San Pedro de Casta (Peru), and contacted Globe Aware periodically for well over a year until there were finally enough volunteers to make a trip viable. This time I traveled with dear friends Judy and Carol to the tiny, obscure, and quietly astounding San Pedro de Casta. The experience was nothing less than breathtaking and all three of us fell hopelessly in love with this humble town and its beautiful, spirited people.

I’ve always done a fair amount of helping out, but combining “service” with adventure and travel, has been astounding. Volunteering abroad has the distinct advantage of “cultural immersion” that isn’t possible as a tourist. Sharing the daily routines of eating, working, playing alongside people who make their life in another part of the world is an incredible learning experience, and it provides the possibility of a personal relationship to develop. The rewards are unimaginable. I plan to return to San Pedro very soon, hopefully in September, for my 61st birthday.

For those interested in a volunteer vacation, let me say that San Pedro de Casta is a very special place, offering incredible experiences and opportunities to lend a hand. Some of what we did in August was teach English at the school, complete some rehab of the museum, coordinate programs for children (one in dental hygiene, another in recycling awareness) and participate daily in hand digging (with pickaxes!) a desperately needed irrigation ditch. This is a crucial need in San Pedro, since water is very scarce. The irrigation trench was essential, but despite spending hours digging every day and working very hard, we honestly didn’t get very far. The ground was bone dry and full of rock, and the 3 foot deep trench needs to run eight tenths of a mile! By the time I left the village, I had fallen in love with the people, and especially the children. I’d also had firsthand experience with, and therefore a deeper understanding of, the desperate need for water, I imagined the possibility of raising enough money at home to have the irrigation project completed in 2012. The new plan would not involve hand digging, nor dependence on infrequent volunteers, but construction by an engineering company with real machinery and big boy prowess. I really thought, that with a little help, I could raise $10,000 at home in Gainesville.

That was eight months ago. Since then, with the assistance and generosity of incredible friends, twice that much has been raised! Our collective hope is that a viable irrigation system will be funded this year, knowing that access to safe, reliable, and clean water will have a lasting and far reaching effect on the lives of these hard working and deserving people. (For more information about our project, please see our FB community page as “Bring Water! Bringing Water to San Pedro de Casta”. If you “LIKE” our page, you can interact with us. We’d love to have you drop in, see photos, videos, make comments, and imagine possibilities with us!).

I wish I had words to convince you that volunteering abroad will alter you in ways both welcoming and unimaginable: Because it will. And by receiving these gifts through offering a hand to others, you will leave your fingerprint on some of the most remote and beautiful corners of the world. So consider a volunteer tour with Globe Aware yourself. Make it a family experience. Or go it alone. You’re sure to witness up close and personal one of the most extraordinary places on the planet. And you absolutely won’t come back home unchanged.”

You can vote with a "Like"=1 point, a "Comment"=2 points, and a "Share"=2 points. At the end of the year the "Volunteer of the Month" with the highest total wins $550 towards the program of their choice. Use the link below, "Like" our page, find the post for this volunteer, and VOTE!

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