TWO young Huddersfield women swapped the beach lifestyle to work in a orphanage in the Andes.
Lucy Senior and Shannon Berry had been sunning themselves on the famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro as part of a round the world trip.
But they swapped the good life for the hard life with a three-week stint as volunteers in the poor city of Huancayo, Peru.
They have been working with desperate families in the city’s Coto Coto Orphanage.
The two women, both 24 and from Lindley, worked with a non profit organisation called Mosoq Ayllu.
Lucy said: “We went from Rio de Janeiro, raving in a favela, sunbathing on Copacabana Beach and taking the standard tourist photos at Christ the Redeemer to battling altitude sickness as we made our ascent up through the Andes.
“Many of the orphans have come from homes of domestic violence and many of them don’t have any relatives. Poverty nowadays leaves many children abandoned.
“These orphanages in Peru provide orphans with daily meals, a bed and schooling but they also need love, time and attention.
“Our three weeks have been spent entertaining the babies to three-year-olds – a challenging job at the best of times but when you speak no Spanish like the two of us ‘Gringos’ it becomes even more of a task.
“We have come to learn the basics needed for the jungle that is the toddler pen, such as, ‘share’, ‘stop that’, ‘get down’ and ‘biscuit?’”
Shannon added: “The orphanage houses children from newborns to 16-year-olds.
“Although difficult at times and always tiring, we enjoyed our time.
“You develop a real bond with each child and it was very difficult saying goodbye.
“It’s been one of the hardest yet most rewarding periods of our trip and it’s an experience we would encourage others to embark on if they ever get the opportunity.”
The pair are now heading to Machu Picchu in Peru and a tour of the Amazon before flying off to the United States to visit Miami.